The Idea Lab

Glassware

The Idea Lab is Western owned manufacture of high quality premium Glassware. We understand that whilst Chinese factories are becoming increasingly efficient, sometimes they fail to meet our standards of quality and service. We are here to ensure those requirements are met.

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If you want to get access to premium, high quality manufactured glassware whether its designed from scratch or off the shelf then you are in the right place. Western owned and connected to a wide range of manufacturers in China to deliver your products at competitive prices without compromising on quality.


Whilst Chinese factories, owing to their huge industrial boom are producing a nearly every imaginable product for export into the global market they often don't have a complete understandings on what western companies expect in terms of quality and service. This is where The Idea Lab can help. A number of UK, European, Australian and American Companies are choosing The Idea Lab to assist with the manufacture of their promotional products. See below for a summary of some draft questions, what we do and how we can help you get the most out of the Far East. 


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When we talk about glassware , we mean anything related to the bar and drinks industry. We are including Brass, Copper, Plastics, Glass, Ceramic and Paper. All glassware manufactured and traded by The Idea Lab is FDA and EU compliant meaning it is safe for human consumption. When thinking about buying glassware from China, it is important to have a company on hand to ensure the stringent standards for health and product standard are met. This is where The Idea Lab comes in. 


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As many western clients have increasingly high standards regarding the quality of goods they buy from China, ethically sourcing materials is at the forefront of our company ethos. As many factories outsource certain processes to different suppliers, this can be very difficult. As we are plugged into all of our factories personally we have superb advantage in terms of transparency on the factory floor. 


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We manufacture a wide range of accessories in the bar and drinkware niche. Get in touch via the enquiry button at the bottom of the page to learn more. 

  1. Shot trays
  2. Ice trays
  3. Silicone drink holders
  4. Cocktail shakers
  5. Stainless Steel-wares
  6. Novelty Straws 

Yes. This will require tooling and prototyping which can time exhausting and expensive. However to learn more about how we develop and prototype for people head here. 

Glass

There are two main manufacturing processes. 

  1. The pressed process where glass is passed into a press machine and formed by the shape of an interior and exterior mould. The glass then goes through a cooling process and is taken out of the mould. Finally it passes infront of burners that melt away any defects which gives the glass its smooth and shiny appearance. 
  2. The blowing process is where a press gives the glass droplet a rough shape and then it is placed in a finishing mould where it is blown into its definitive shape. The upper part is separated by a cutter which uses a very high temperature. 

With both processes the manufacturing finishes with the annealing of the glass, a process where the internal tensions of the glass are eliminated making it stronger. Drinking glasses are typically toughened to allow them to withstand thermal and physical shocks. 

Plastic

There are generally four ways to mould plastic into its ideal shape. 

  1. Blow Extrusion & Extrusion. Melted plastic that has been fed through the machine hopper is extruded into a die. The die is attached to a barrel and this is indicative of the final shape or profile that the plastic is intended to take. Pressurised air is forced through the die and as the plastic moves from the die into a vacuum sizing rings keep the plastic in its desired shape. The vacuum will be filled with water as a means of cooling the plastic before being cut or spooled. 
  2. Injection Moulding. Plastic is warmed to melting and fed into a mould through a barrel with a  screw. This has to be very precise as poor temperature control or rate of feed will affect the overall quality and appearance of the finished plastic product. As the barrel pulls back to begin forcing more pellets into the mould the plastic in the mould is cooled and ejected as a finished piece.
  3. Stretch Blow Moulding. This is the most common way of making jars, bottles and similar containers because it produces excellent visual and dimensional quality. The plastic is injected into whats known as a preform, the preform is then heated and blown using high pressure air into bottles using metal blow moulds. The polymers are stretched which allows them to resist deforming under pressure from carbonated drinks. 

Moulding

Typically opening a new mould can take anywhere from four - six weeks minimum to develop. It then needs testing to ensure it produces consistently good finalised product. Moulds are expensive to produce and dictate high production runs to amortise the cost of investment. Moulds start at £2000 but quickly get expensive as designs get more complicated. 

Paper Cups

Most paper would disintegrate if hot liquid was poured into it. Manufacturing paper cups requires them to be lined with a thin plastic later to make them waterproof. This sheet is then rolled into a cup form. Then the plastic is heated and pressed together to seal it.  

Other Materials

We also make glassware from ceramic, brass, stainless steel and even coconut. The manufacturing process is very similar to that mentioned above in that a tool is created and material is extruded or pressed into the tool. If you have a particular material you would like to explore using for our glassware reach out to us and we will put forward a proposal on what is suitable within the parameters of your design.


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They vary depending on the material. Glass has the lowest MOQ and plastic and paper have the highest requirements on MOQ. If there is a specific MOQ you have in mind reach out to us via email and we will see what we can do. 


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  1. Moulding / Tooling (if tool available skip this step) - 5 weeks minimum 
  2. Samples & Printing - 2 weeks 
  3. Mass Production - 4-8 weeks 
  4. Printing - 1-2 weeks 
  5. Finishing & Packing 1- 2 weeks. 

This means typically the process for manufacturing a cup design from scratch are around 15 weeks minimum (if tooling is required). Some tools are quicker to make than others and some products don't require tooling at all. Enquire with us via the button at the bottom of the page to learn more. 


Whilst Chinese manufacturers continue to produce a huge number of products for export, notions of quality product are not yet as fully developed as they are in the West. This is where The Idea Lab is able to help you. We deliver the quality product that Western firms rely upon. 


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This is a hard question to answer as it is dependent on many variables unique to each order. As a general rule of thumb allow 30 days for smaller orders and 45-60 days for larger orders. This does not include weekends or national holidays. 

Check out our product development page to learn more, but we pride ourselves on being able to bring a lot of really interesting and creative ideas to life. 


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Plastic is done throughout South China, in both Fujian and Guangdong. Glass is localised in North China around the areas of ShiJiaZhuang. Typically Copper, Wood and other materials is focused around both Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. 


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Yes we work with a number of factories that are authorised to produce licensed premiums. 


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To ensure your product is 100% compliant you have to have a complete presence in the factory, and be fully aware of the processes, machinery and staff that work there. You need to conduct regular inspections to be sure that light bulbs are fitted, warehouses are clean and staff are working in a safe environment. The Idea Lab maintains a continued presence in the factory, and this presence drives better quality goods are fair pricing. 


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The vast majority of our suppliers we have been working with for many years and are personally acquainted with. As our needs and requirements have changed and grown, factories have been introduced to us over time. Over the ten years we have built an extensive network of suitable and professional suppliers that we work with.


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Problems with the mould are not uncommon and can cause defective product. This is usually solved by revising the mould and ensuring it is clean and free from marks. Other issues include poor printing. This is usually caused because printing is outsourced to a partner factory. Typically when this issue arises we need to meet with the printing factory and stress to them the importance of valued printing. As each wasted print is an unusable end product. 


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We deliver either FOB or EXW but handle clients from all over the globe including the US, South Africa, the UK and Australia. 

To get started on sourcing your premium promotional glassware through us use the contact form below.