How UK manufacturers of all shapes and sizes are rising to the challenge of the Coronavirus crisis, particularly in response to the government’s call for help building ventilators, has been one of the most inspiring stories The Manufacturer has ever had the privilege of reporting.
This page is a showcase of every UK-based manufacturing business providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – such as masks, shield, gowns, gloves, hand sanitiser – and medical equipment, with a particular emphasis on those who have adeptly pivoted from their typical output.
In an effort to keep this frequently updated page as clear and concise as possible, only top-level information has been provided. Where possible, more specific project details and quotes will by hyperlinked.
If your story should be included, let us know via [email protected]
If you believe your business can meet the government’s technical specifications for PPE, you can register your offer of support directly here.
In alphabetical order by company name:
*See MONDELĒZ INTERNATIONAL
Birmingham-based AE Aerospace supplies high-quality precision machined components for the aerospace and advanced engineering markets.
The business has produced more than 6,000 complex turned / milled parts for the Smiths ‘paraPAC plus’ ventilator in less than two weeks from receiving a drawing. Considering the team typically produces 2,500 parts a month, the impressive feat was achieved by employees working 24/7.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Founders of Didsbury Gin and ARLU Rum, Alderman’s Drinks is pleased to announce that it is donating 15,000 disposable face masks and 20,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to the Greater Manchester Local Authorities. At the end of March, the manufacturer switched production to start producing the sanitiser, and had produced a million bottles within the first week.
ALLOY WIRE INTERNATIONAL
Alloy Wire International has been commissioned to produce more than five kilometres of material that will be used to produce crucial parts for use in life-saving equipment destined for the Nightingale Hospital in London.
The company put its Emergency Manufacturing Service (EMS) into action to meet the urgent requirements of a spring maker that is supplying into the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium.
Interest has also come from North America and South Korea, with AWI supplying urgent quantities of custom-made Inconel spring wire and 316v Stainless Steel to a spring maker in Wisconsin and a major medical centre in Seoul respectively.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
A&M EDM, an engineering SME based in Smethwick, West Midlands has applied its precision machining expertise to manufacture components for the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium.
A&M is also 3D printing visors and chin pieces for PPE face shields.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Amphenol Invotec is a manufacturer of bespoke and safety critical PCBs for the aerospace, defence, nuclear, energy, medical and industrial sectors.
The business is now producing accelerated, and volume production of 180,000 PCBs – equivalent to 30,000 ventilators.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
ADVANCED MANUFACTURING RESEARCH CENTRE (AMRC)
A team of engineers from AMRC’s Design and Prototyping Group worked tirelessly over the Easter weekend to rapidly manufacture and assemble almost 1,000 face shields for frontline NHS workers.
These have been delivered to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital with plans to produce 1,000 more for the Northern General Hospital.
Coventry-based flooring manufacturer, Amtico has modified its manufacturing facilities to help produce up to 20,000 parts for protective face shields per day.
A dedicated team of technical, CAD and cutting specialists modified the design of the headband to make it faster and more efficient to assemble, and ensuring the best balance between flexibility and rigidity, with the ultimate aim of making them as comfortable and practical as possible for frontline NHS care givers. workers.
The British luxury carmaker and its project partner Multimatic have assisted the the Manufacturing Technology Centre by designing and creating a tool so that the perspex component can be made in one piece, allowing the boxes to be stacked and take up less room during transit and in busy intensive care wards.
The advanced cutting machines at Aston Martin’s HQ in Gaydon, Warwickshire, are normally used to cut out intricate leather shapes for interiors but are currently being used to produce silicone components that are used in the assembly of the box.
Additionally, Aston Martin aims to 3D print 150 protective visors each week and has submitted a sample gown to the NHS with a view to starting production of up to 750 gowns a week (subject to material availability).
A student start-up founded at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. In normal times, the business is focussed on providing affordable and functional 3D printed prosthetics. In light of recent events they decided to use their capabilities to help in the fight against COVID-19 by addressing the national PPE shortage.
At the start of this initiative they were producing 50 face shields per day. They have now moved to large scale manufacturing – distributing 20,000 shields per week, with potential to increase their capacity further should there be demand.
Tamworth-based Axiom GB has dedicated two of its 3D printers to printing plastic parts for face shields.
The materials handling specialist is currently producing these parts 24 hours a day.
Once completed, the face shield parts are forwarded to Solid Print3D, the business which launched the charity initiative to produce face shields for the NHS and appealed to other manufacturers to offer manufacturing support.
As well as supporting the national ventilator efforts, employees in its Air division who normally produce parts for combat aircraft including Eurofighter Typhoon, and its Submarine division are 3D printing parts for newly designed face shield. BAE Systems is also sourcing tens of thousands of additional face shields through its supply chain to distribute to the NHS on their behalf.
Together with their own 3D printed face shields, BAE Systems has delivered more than 24,000 units to date, with another 40,000 due to arrive in the next week. Additionally, BAE Systems is supporting VentilatorChallengeUK by helping to develop training materials for people building the newly MHRA-approved Penlon ventilator.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
UK engineering company, Babock has been awarded a contract by the Cabinet Office to manufacture 10,000 Zephyr Plus ventilators, subject to regulatory approvals; a product being developed in collaboration with an established major international supplier of critical care ventilators.
Clothing company Barbour, based in South Shields, NE England, has been supplying gowns and other PPE items to NHS trusts in the region.
Approached by two British companies in the last few weeks, Hampshire based BEC Group have quickly applied their design, tooling and moulding capabilities to critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) production, destined for the NHS, care homes and for those out on the roads delivering food, medical aid and supplies to those in isolation.
Bec worked closely with Capit on the tooling for their protective visor system.
Prescot-based Beverston Engineering has been using its expertise in 5-axis CNC machining to produce vital parts used in ventilators.
The business is drawing on its team of engineers, all of which specialise in developing components for safety-critical industries such as aerospace, oil & gas and pharmaceutical industries.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Bio-Pack in Bradford has retooled to make plastic aprons. They have orders for 4 million and another machine going in that’ll take them to 10 million capacity.
BLACKMAN & WHITE
Essex-based manufacturer, Blackman & White is using its expertise in cutting systems to design and make a visor made from polycarbonate or acetate to make the most of its in-house machine capabilities.
The firm is looking to utilise spare capacity in its demo room to produce 300 units every day.
BLACK MOUNTAINS BOTANICALS
A Herefordshire craft distillery now making sanitiser , they have donated over 1000 bottles of sanitiser to NHS and key workers and continue to produce 1500L a week for both the NHS, key workers and the vulnerable in their community.
Northern Ireland-based Bloc Blinds has teamed up with packaging specialists Huhtamaki to ramp up the production of its ‘FaceShield’ to the next level.
The business has currently suspended all blind manufacturing until further notice to focus on manufacturing the face shields – shipped in boxes containing the components for 24 full face visors and instructions for self-assembly.
Medical technology specialist, Brandon Medical has more than doubled production at its Leeds factory.
Alongside its standard output of examination lights, minor surgical lighting and intensive care support systems, the business is also manufacturing oxygen probes for UK-made ventilators.
BROADWATER MOULDINGS LTD
Suffolk based FRP manufacturer Broadwater Mouldings have turned over their 3D printer to producing protective shield frames. This initiative has been coordinated by BT at Adastral Park in Suffolk who, with the help of other local businesses, have delivered over 4700 protective shields to local Hospitals, GP practices and Care Homes.
Usually reserved for producing prototypes and machine parts, their Ultimaker S5 printer is capable of producing 15 frames per day from ABS strand.
The textile manufacturer and fashion house is retooling its trench coat factory in Castleford, Yorkshire, to make non-surgical gowns and masks for patients.
CARDIFF UNIVERSITY PARC INSTITUTE OF MANUFACTURING
A suite of 3D printers originally destined for Cardiff University’s PARC Institute have been repurposed and relocated to manufacture visors for NHS Wales.
The 3D printing machines, were ordered as part of a £500,000 Welsh government-funded project to develop a new RemakerSpace centre at Cardiff Business School, Cardiff University.
Due to the temporary closure of the University campus, the first issue was finding a place to set up the machines. This is where DSV, a large global logistics company with facilities across the UK, stepped in and offered to set up the machines at DSV’s ISO9001 healthcare facility in Milton Keynes.
For more on this see here
CITIZEN MACHINERY UK
Based in Bushey, Citizen is a CNC machine tool specialist supplying the latest CNC turning technology to UK industry.
As the largest supplier of bar automatics in the UK and Ireland, Citizen was contacted by Ventilator Challenge UK as this type of machine tool, especially the sliding-head variety with turn-milling capability, is critical to the rapid, efficient manufacture of components in very high volumes for making the extra ventilators needed.
For more on Citizen’s involvement see here
CNF PRECISION ENGINEERING
Family owned and run CNF Precision Engineering is working 24/7 to manufacture ventilator parts at its Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, site.
Typically serving clients in the aerospace and defence, medical, electronic, scientific and automotive industries, the company’s size has played a large part in its success – being small enough to swiftly respond to individual requirements, but large enough to provide the necessary technical support and quality control.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Composite Integration, based in Saltash, Cornwall, is utilising its design and manufacturing capabilities to produce prototype face visors which have been functionally reviewed and accepted by NHS Plymouth.
All components have been procured from local UK sources enabling Composite Integration to offer rapid supply to meet the growing demand, with the business aiming to manufacture approximately 2,500 visors a week for key workers.
COOKSON & CLEGG
Community clothing factory Cookson and Clegg based in Lions Drive on the Shadsworth Business Park in Blackburn, aim to make 1,000 sets of specialist tunic tops and trousers for doctors, nurses and other hospital workers a week.
CORNWALL MANUFACTURERS GROUP
Members of the Cornwall Manufacturers Group have been playing their part in the battle against Covid-19:
Saltash based Composite Integration has diversified to make PPE equipment
Smith’s Metals in Redruth is a critical supplier to Falmouth’s Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) and in turn WMFTG is an essential provider in the pharmaceutical supply chain.
St Austell based Polymermedics is manufacturing over 40 million tamper seals for drug vials every week.
Wadebridge based Daften Die-casting source from Smiths Metal’s and manufacture fully-machined and powder-coated die-castings for Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG).
Teddington Systems are making water isolation valves for the Nightingale Hospital.
Bodmin based CHX Products have designed tools and are injection moulding 5000 PPE face shields a week.
Fitzgerald Lighting is making lights for Basildon hospital.
Technical expertise, spare parts and repairs from Western Mechanical Handling, sited at Callington, have also aided the manufacture of oxygen masks.
CRAVEN & CO
Knaresborough-based wirework manufacturer, Craven & Co is using its expertise to make 800 IV drip stands a day and distributing them directly through the NHS supply chain.
In total, the North Yorkshire company has delivered 4,000 IV stands to the ExCeL in London and is manufacturing a further 8,500 to the Nightingale hospitals in Harrogate, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.
Craven is also producing and distributing trolleys, shelving and other medical equipment to all five hospitals, including around 1,000 modular shelves in the past week alone.
Typically, around 60-70% of the business’ output goes into catering and retail – two sectors which have been particularly affected by the Coronavirus. Its production line is currently operating 24/7 to meet emergency requirements.
C R CLARKE
Welsh family-run engineering company, C R Clarke, has been given MHRA (Medical Health Regulatory Authority) authorisation to begin trialling and ultimately manufacturing a breathing aid needed to support COVID-19 patients in Wales, using funding secured from HSBC UK and the Welsh Government.
C R Clarke has designed a type of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilator in response to the urgent need for more breathing equipment and hopes to supply thousands more units to the Health Service over the next six months.
Crystal Doors of Rochdale 25 years ago specialised in the manufacturer of bespoke vinyl wrapped kitchen, bedroom doors for independent retailers. Today their unique machine assets value engineered components for hotels, restaurants, shop fitting, student accommodation, hospitals, prisons and care homes.
The NHS urgently required 10,000 over bed tops for Nightingale hospitals, local hospitals, and converted care homes. Following one phone call for 6000 tops, Crystal Doors within the same day switched to 100% over bed top production. UK supply of hospital grade material was soon depleted requiring 3 tons of Kydex from Sekisui in the USA. For NHS emergency they made immediately and sent on the first cargo flight to Manchester. Three weeks of Crystal Doors 24/7 manufacturing competed all urgent orders.
Derbyshire based fashion firm had received its first order to make an initial 5,000 sets of scrubs for two major university hospital NHS trusts – a total of nine hospitals, including Royal Derby Hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary, Queen’s Hospital Burton, Leicester General Hospital, Derbyshire Children’s Hospital and other Derbyshire community hospitals.
The UK’s largest privately-owned lighting manufacturer, Dextra Group has been prioritising orders for the NHS, NHS Suppliers and food production industries supplying both standard and bespoke products in as little as 24 hours from point of order.
The organisation hasn’t just been supplying lighting from its production site in Dorset, Dextra has also completed and delivered several dozen visor headsets for local NHS & Care staff and, subject to materials being available, should be converting a further 150 hard hats over the coming days.
A UK manufacturing firm that typically produces point-of-sale displays and retail materials for the likes of Boots and Tesco has completely changed its business model since the Coronavirus outbreak to become a not-for-profit company, now creating 100,000 PPE face shields a week.
Managing director, Leon Edwards, made the decision to pivot the company’s business model in order to avoid having to make redundancies or consider furloughing any employees.
The firm initially optimised their machines in order to create 10,000 units a day, but is now working at a scale of 100,000 units a week, with orders being made by NHS bodies and other frontline workers.
Vacuum cleaner and hand drier manufacturer, Dyson has been developing a ventilator using components from their vacuums.
A senior source within the company told ITV News that they are hoping to make around 10,000 ventilators at its Hullavington plant in Wiltshire once final regulatory approval has been given. The source says they hope to set up a production line and use parts shipped from overseas.
UPDATE: 24 April – according to the company these ventilators are no longer required by the government.
Ascot based businesses EIZO Limited and Lynda Yong have partnered with Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust (FHFT) to produce an initial run of 8,000+ PPE gown.
The second floor of 1 Queens Square, Ascot Business Park, which is owned by specialist monitor manufacturer, EIZO Limited, has been transformed into a temporary sewing workshop.
The workshop is able to accommodate up to 25 sewers (socially distanced spaced to at least three metres apart) whose sole focus will be to produce some of the first PPE gowns made in the UK.
Envisage Group, an engineering concept design and realisation company, has independently created an innovative portable ventilator concept using off-the-shelf medical components.
Developing the concept from scratch in a matter of weeks, Envisage Group’s prototype ventilator uses components already approved for medical use combined with some in-house fabricated parts.
EUROPEAN SPRINGS & PRESSINGS
From springs that go into the mouthpieces for ventilators to catheter clips to syringe drivers, patient beds and trolley systems, instrumentation and numerous electrical components for medical technologies including defibrillators, Penryn based European Springs & Pressings is proud to play a key part in the supply chain for a number of medical equipment manufacturers.
With 1 million mouthpiece springs taking approximately 125 machine hours to manufacture and other product lines in the tens of thousands, the advanced design, engineering and manufacturing capabilities across European Springs & Pressings factories, from London to Cornwall, are working together to help combat today’s public health emergency.
The exovent taskforce has developed a new type of negative pressure breathing support device to deliver an alternative clinical option to manage pneumonia associated with the COVID-19 virus.
Gentex’s plant in Stranraer, Scotland, manufactures the Pureflo 3000 innovative powered air purifying respirator which provides an all-in-one respiratory, head, face, eye and hearing protection.
With demand soaring for high-end medical use, Gentex has more than doubled production on its current assembly line, as well as creating two additional lines. The business has mobilised some 60 suppliers to provide 200 parts and raw materials; used its engineering expertise to build new rigs, and trained staff for additional shifts.
As a result, Gentex aim to increase production to 750 Pureflo respirators a week, a more than a seven-fold increase in production rates.
GKN Aerospace, as part of the VentilatorChallengeUK – has been working hard to help answer the NHS need for additional ventilators.
GKN Aerospace has used its knowledge of smart manufacturing technologies focusing on the assembly of a ventilator based on existing technologies in its facilities in Luton and on the Isle of Wight to help ramp-up production.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Leading research materials supplier, Goodfellow, is supplying materials that are being used to make protective equipment for frontline workers.
The company donate 130 kilos of polypropylene coil to Stamford School in Lincolnshire, where Design Technology teachers are voluntarily manufacturing 1,000 protective face masks a day.
Goodfellow has also donated to a number of other companies that are supplying protective equipment to hospitals, such as supplying PET sheet to Plastic Jesus Fabrication, an LA artist who has adapted his studio to make medical PPE to donate to local hospitals. Other companies receiving donations include Royal Mint, Brammer, TJ Morgan and Safran Aero Boosters.
The Devon-based hand-protection manufacturer, is producing and donating PPE face shields to the NHS.
GUYSON INTERNATIONAL LTD
Guyson International Ltd, the UK’s foremost industrial finishing equipment manufacturer, based in Skipton, North Yorkshire, is urgently building precision cleaning equipment for the VentilatorChallengeUK Consortium.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Enfield based Handy Limited have managed to convert their machines to produce narrow elastic which is currently in very high demand within the PPE market. It is producing 1,000km per day and shipping to PPE producers within Italy and also in many western European countries.
HARLOW ADVANCED MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING CENTRE (HAMEC)
Part of Harlow College, a team of engineers have been working on three different types of face shield: disposable, 3D printed and CNC machined.
These are being boxed and distributed on a daily basis, mainly to Princess Alexandra Hospital but also to frontline care providers, GP surgeries and pharmacies across West Essex and East Herts.
Current production is 50 face shields a day, although a dedicated team are aiming to produce 1,000 a week of the disposable variety.
Visit the team’s JustGiving page here
The UK’s largest independent coatings manufacturer, HMG Paints Ltd has utilised its manufacturing knowledge and existing alcohol stocks to produce hand sanitiser for front-line workers, care providers and charities in Manchester and across the UK.
The company developed the First Thing Sanitiser, which contains over 70% alcohol, after staff and their families reported being unable to find stocks at other locations. The First Thing name derives from internal communication messages urging staff to make washing their hands the first thing on their mind whether in work or at home.
H. V. WOODING
A sub contract manufacturer of 50 years plus specialising in “build to print” manufacturing of metal components have been manufacturing Ventilator parts for the “Ventilator Challenge UK” consortium.
Hyde Aero’s Victoria Production Engineering business has been manufacturing parts for the Ventilator Challenge UK consortium.
As well as every member of its team, the business also acknowledges the invaluable support of Amari Plastics, Star GB and Future Tooling. The group is also looking at additional ways other Hyde Aero companies can assist in the national effort.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
ICL TECH LTD
ICL Tech Ltd is a plastics thermoforming and fabrication company based in Glasgow which has repurposed its operations to help supply PPE visors. It primarily works with oil & gas, financial and automotive industries.
It has received CE certification for its protective medical visor and have orders in excess of 200,000 with more than 3,000 masks being shipped each day.
The company is also receiving a number of enquiries from individual frontline hospital workers (and a PPE fund raising group) as the absence of PPE continues to be felt.
More information is at a dedicated website the business has created.
INCONTRAST – STI LINE LTD
Gillingham based Incontrast, part of the STI Group, has turned their manufacturing machinery and hand assembly teams to making face visors.
They have CE self cert approval for CAT1 and can manufacture 15,000 per day on a single shift.
INEOS, the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for hospital-grade sanitisers – isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol, has announced plans to produce 1 million hand sanitisers a month to help with the European shortage.
The company has said that is already running its two sites Grangemouth, Scotland and in northern Germany “flat out” and that it has been diverting more of this product to essential medical use.
It now plans to build two new factories to make hand sanitiser – the first in the UK (near Middlesbrough) and subsequently replicated in Germany.
The Inovus Medical design and engineering team were called upon to utilise their expertise and the company’s additive manufacturing capabilities to assist in the production of ventilator parts for Project Pitlane.
The company has since been using its production level SLS 3D printer to manufacture components for the ventilators, with the first parts being delivered to the consortium in under a week from receiving the call to help.
In response to repeated requests from existing customers to help, the design team at Inovus have conceptualised and designed an Emergency Face Visor to help meet this demand. The face visor utilises the same production level 3D printing technology as that used for the ventilator parts to enable large scale manufacturing and supply of the visors.
Within a week of the first request for face visors the Inovus Medical team designed and tested the product, built technical files and other documentation to be in line with the necessary EU directives governing such products and installed a new manufacturing and assembly line in their St Helens based factory. Demand for the visors has been overwhelming with thousands of visors already delivered to front line care givers across the UK.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
JAGUAR LAND ROVER
JLR has started production of approved, 3D-printed protective visors. Initially, the automotive manufacturer will print 1,300 visors each week for keyworkers, with the aspiration to develop the operation for mass production.
Staffordshire manufacturer, JCB has restarted production at its factory near Uttoxeter in order to manufacturer special steel housings for a brand new design of ventilator from Dyson.
Rather than mourning the “virtual cessation of aerospace work”, precision aerospace engineering and machining business, JJ Churchill has been producing ventilator parts. Within 24 hours of a request for help and the drawings being received, the first-off had been proven out.
“The British retailer is reopening its Herbert Parkinson textiles factory in Lancashire, which usually manufactures curtains, pillows and duvets, to produce 8K clinical gowns for NHS”
For more see here
JUICE SAUZ DISTRIBUTION
During week two of lockdown, the Lincoln based company started to produce hand sanitiser for the local community, businesses across the UK and the NHS.
Juice Sauz has donated 200 bottles of hand sanitiser to support Fosse Healthcare’s (Newark on Trent) ongoing work providing care for elderly in the local community.
Contact the company’s head office should you require hand sanitiser.
A 20-year-old CNC machining apprentice is playing a key role in manufacturing over 150,000 critical parts for the NHS.
Jacob Benton, who is studying towards his HNC Level 4 with In-Comm Training, is working around the clock with the manufacturing team at Cannock-based Key Precision to produce up to nine different components for use in the assembly of ventilators being built for the frontline.
The young engineer has programmed three different CNC machines to create five oxygen supply line parts, completing the complex task in just a few hours of receiving the order so the company can meet urgent timelines set by the consortium.
Coventry-based Kite Packaging took just seven days to devise, design and supply 10,000 new protective face visors for the NHS. The employee-owned business is aiming to produce 100,000 of the masks a week to staff working for health trusts and organisations across the region and the UK.
The visors are being supplied in kit form for the medical staff to put them together at the point of use which minimises packaging and speeds up distribution.
The retailer is repurposing its Newton factory to make PPE – depsite the business being in administration, machinists are returning to work to produce thousands of scrubs
For more see here
LJA Miers is a UK converter who ordinarily operate in markets such as automotive and general manufacturing but have switched their production focus to PPE in order to help with the current requirement throughout frontline healthcare.
Devon based specialists in design and manufacture of retail display solutions in addition to medical supplies and PPE have been producing medical supplies for the NHS and face shields for local businesses.
MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY CENTRE
In less than seven days, engineers at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) have prototyped, developed and seen operational a rapidly scalable new intubation shield for use with ventilators.
Working in collaboration with expert medical consultant practitioners and Rolls-Royce, and supported by Innovate UK, the MTC is currently mobilising resources to ramp up immediate capacity to upwards of 200 units a day, which can be quickly scaled up across multiple supply chains in order to meet higher demands.
The first two hundred Intubation Shield units have been successfully fulfilled and were fully funded by the MTC.
MANCHESTER GIN DISTILLERY
Manchester Gin’s distillery has temporarily switched production from gin to hand sanitiser to support the NHS Nightingale Hospital North West.
For more see here
An innovative automotive engineering firm in Coventry will more than double its workforce if its design to manufacture face masks for frontline NHS staff is given the go ahead.
MarchantCain, based at Banner Park in Wickmans Drive, has submitted its plans to the official testers, the British Standards Institution (BSI), in Milton Keynes to ensure their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) meets stringent standards.
The company, which currently employs 22 staff, is still working on automotive business for its clients around the world but was contacted by the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub to see if they could answer the Government’s plea to manufacture PPE.
The designers at MarchantCain have developed a face mask and have produced 3D printed jigs and fixtures to help assemble between 10,000 and 80,000 masks a week.
MARCHES BOTTLING AND PACKAGING
A family-owned Herefordshire bottling and packaging manufacturer is responding to the Covid-19 outbreak by producing its own hand sanitiser for key workers and members of the public after securing additional finance.
Marches Bottling and Packaging, which is run alongside the family’s cider production business, Celtic Marches Beverages, will use the new finance to help fund the production of its new hand sanitiser – Two Cousins.
MARTIN’S RUBBER COMPANY LTD
Following a series of trials relating to design and material spec, it is now producing parts for the breathing aids developed by Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains and manufactured by University College London and Medical Moulded Products.
These continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices use positive pressure to send air and oxygen to the patient at a steady rate, while allowing them to breath out. They are intended to assist breathing for those with lung infections and prevent the need for a ventilator or to assist those who have just come off ventilation.
The part it is manufacturing is a blue silicone ‘flag’ for the breathing tube. It visibly lifts under positive air pressure, so nurses dealing with Covid-19 patients know that there is always clean oxygen going to the patient’s lungs and that they are not breathing in their own exhaled air.
Having had the thumbs up on the spec, Martin’s manufactured 1,000 parts in the first three hours of production and now have an order in place for 50,000 parts in the coming days.
Members of the VentilatorChallenge team.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
McNair Shirts, a company usually renowned for its high quality hand made
clothing, has turned its specialty to making PPE gowns for its local NHS.
Based in Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, McNair Shirts produces high quality mountain
clothing from the world’s finest merino wool. With the coronavirus taking hold, McNair bosses wondered if they could shift production to support their local heroes by making gowns to protect staff and patients at their local Huddersfield Royal Infirmary.
Birmingham based British Medical equipment manufacturers currently manufacturing thousands of screens plus other specialist equipment such as drip stands, medical seating and couches for NHS frontline field hospitals / nightingale hospitals and NHS critical care units and NHS COVID testing centres.
Mondelēz International, the manufacturer behind Cadbury and Oreo, has joined forces with engineering company 3P innovation to help produce thousands of medical visors.
Mondelēz is producing the hard-plastic bands which connect the top and bottom of the visor. To do this, it is repurposing its 3D printing technology, normally used to make chocolate sculptures at Bournville, Birmingham.
3P Innovation has already delivered the first visors, to a Warwickshire NHS clinic and efforts are expected to be ramped up with the aim of making and delivering up to 10,000 units every week.
Nasmyth Group is working to manufacture key components for ventilators, bringing together the precision engineering expertise present in all 12 of its companies.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
NAYLOR SPECIALIST PLASTICS
Naylor Specialist Plastics- based in Wombwell, Barnsley, have been manufacturing ventilation ducting for heating and cooling the temporary NHS facilities.
A team of supply chain experts have created a parts processing line in the final assembly area at Nisan’s Sunderland plant to sort and pack thousands of individual visor parts for shipping direct to the NHS.
More than 77,000 visors are expected to leave the plant by the end of this week, with up to 100,000 being distributed each subsequent week.
In the first phase of the project, the team took delivery of hundreds of boxes of visor parts from volunteers from across the country who have been using their 3D printers to make the PPE. Nissan has provided funds for an injection moulding tool that increases the number of parts produced, which are now being sourced from companies in Lancashire, Coventry and Gateshead.
International clinical diagnostics specialist, Novacyt has ramped up the production and worldwide distribution of four million essential COVID-19 tests each month.
The Design & Manufacturing teams at Numatic, best known for the Henry vacuum cleaners produced in its factory in Somerset, have developed a face shield that is effective, comfortable, reusable and can be manufactured in high volumes, and is already in use at several frontline locations.
The face shields are open source and more information can be found here.
OLIVER HARVEY CHEF WEAR
Manufacturer of chef whites, restaurant aprons and denim aprons are making PPE for their local hospital in Manchester.
Owen Mumford, a leading Oxfordshire-based medical device company, has supplied the NHS with more than 10 million finger-pricking devices to stock the regional Nightingale field hospitals.
Owen Mumford manufacturers the finger-pricking devices, known as Unistik® safety lancets, for rapid blood testing for conditions such as diabetes and HIV and regularly supplies the NHS. However, the company has pulled out all the stops to fulfil extraordinary NHS orders, which it is understood will provide critical supplies for the new medical facilities being set up across the country.
Cumbria-based Oxley Group usually manufactures high-spec LED lighting, EMI filters and electronic components for the global aerospace and defence sectors. However, the business has designed a new face protection visor created an assembly line to produce thousands of them for front line workers.
The entire Ulverston production team are working in shifts to produce the visors at a rate of 800 a week, which are being supplied into NHS sites, care homes and hospices across Cumbria and Lancashire.
The business is currently in discussions with a consortium of other advanced manufacturing businesses from across the region, and is exploring how it could potentially supply much needed ventilator components.
Parafix is ordinarily a manufacturer of bespoke adhesive components, including the ones used to hold ventilator components together, and have now started manufacturing face shields. It’s currently manufacturing 25,000 face shields a day and deliver to NHS trusts in Sussex and Bristol.
Derby catering equipment specialist, Parry, has adapted all of its manufacturing operations to increase production of its stainless steel mobile wash basins, glove/mask dispensing units and knee operated sinks.
The business also managed to design, manufacture and deliver 14 drug dispensing tables for NHS Nightingale Manchester, in a matter of days.
PERSPEX INTERNATIONAL LIMITED (PDL)
Lancashire based acrylic manufacturers, Perspex International Limited (PIL), has prioritised increased production of Perspex® clear acrylic to fulfil requirements for protective screens across the UK and Europe.
The business implemented new manufacturing methods and practical working changes and as a result of the immediate factory changes, production of Perspex® clear acrylic sheet has now increased by 300% compared to the same time in March 2020.
Photofab, is a chemical etching company based in St Neots, Cambridgeshire, employing just short of 80 staff and manufacture components out of sheets of metal,
As a supplier into the medical, food and drink and defence industries, Photofab is viewed as a ‘Critical Supplier’ and therefore remains set up to provide precise and rapid manufacturing for components, and is now part of the supply chain for numerous critical projects, including the manufacture of ventilators for Dyson, Rolls Royce, Mercedes / GKN, JLR to name a few.
The company is currently manufacturing components in a 24 hour turnaround to help these companies rapidly prove their concepts.
Plexus is manufacturing ventilators for the NHS at its facility in Kelso, Scotland. The business is well-qualified to support the design, development and production of critical medical equipment that assists healthcare workers.
Plexus also manufactures several other essential medical devices, including diagnostic equipment, patient monitors, CT scanners, MRI machines, ultrasounds and mobile x-ray units.
PP CONTROL & AUTOMATION
The company is producing harnesses for the VentilatorChallenge UK’s ramp up of ventilators, which are already being used by the NHS to help save lives.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
As a key supplier for the manufacture of parts for medical equipment, Precision Micro, the market leader in photo chemical etching, has seen a six-fold increase in sensors and valve parts which are essential in ventilators.
The business, which is able to turn around pieces in very short timescales including set up and production, is now producing tens of thousands of ventilator components – a process which sees its specialist photo chemical etching equipment producing precisely engineered parts for ventilator manufacturers across Europe.
Produmax, an aerospace company based in Shipley, is manufacturing thousands of parts that will be assembled on the new ventilators being produced for the NHS.
With the support of its team the business has implemented split shifts around the clock to produce vital parts at speed from their Baildon site.
Produmax will have switched to making ventilator parts on their lathes over the next few weeks, and more than 60,000 brass, steel and plastic components will make their way onto the air flow control units of Penlon and Smiths Medical ventilators.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Protolabs, a world-leading specialist in custom prototypes and low-volume production parts, is using its 3D printing, CNC machining and injection moulding expertise to produce critical parts for testing and ventilator masks.
The company has played a key role in supporting Italian engineers in the conversion of ‘Easybreath’ snorkelling equipment into ventilator masks, alongside working with a highly multiplexed molecular diagnostics specialist to produce a series of plastic cassettes that will help house a critical medical solution used in testing for Covid-19.
PURE SAFTEY GROUP – CHECKMATE
Pure Safety Group’s (PSG) Checkmate brand has started producing face masks for UK distribution. In conjunction with MakeMasksuk.org, PSG’s Sheerness Kent location has activated volunteer furloughed employees to produce its newest product, the CheckMask, a non-medical barrier mask for use by individuals and moving forward as guidelines for social distancing continue.
Cornwall based PV3 Technologies, electrochemists, developing and manufacturing materials for electrochemical technologists have started production of hand sanitiser.
Quickchange has shifted its production processes away from its core cash management and retail products and quickly realigned its operational focus to the production and delivery of PPE, including a virus protection panel.
London based RAP UK (HQ in Wimbledon) has turned over its production line to manufacture disposable PPE face shield equipment, conforming to Category 1 PPE EU Regulation 2016:425.
The material used in the shield’s construction is a high barrier protective film, commonly used in the packaging industry to protect food against bacteria, virus and other harmful pathogens.
RAP’s design solutions are normally used to produce packaging for sandwiches, hot products, chilled meats and ready meals. The company’s customers include coffee shops, independents, convenience stores and the retailer multiples – including Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Morrisons, ASDA, M&S, Pret A Manger and LEON.
RAP’s established supply chain means they can reach full scale production immediately to deliver between 7 and 10 million face shields a week.
The company has already begun operations by producing 1 million face shields, of which the first 65,000 have been earmarked for free distribution to care homes across the UK and Éire.
Global engineering company, Renishaw, has dedicated a significant part of its manufacturing sites in Gloucestershire and South Wales to produce precision-machined, critical components for two different ventilators manufactured by the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, with production at the sites now running seven days a week.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
Röchling Engineering Plastics (UK) Ltd. – Gloucester
Röchling Fibracon Ltd. – High Peak
Röchling Insoll Ltd. – Hitchin
All three UK branches of Röchling are supplying high-quality precision machined parts from engineering grades of plastic, such as PTFE and acetal.
In response to the Coronavirus outbreak all Röchling’s UK branches are supporting the medical and healthcare sectors with thermoplastic components and materials vital to assist the NHS in fighting the Coronavirus outbreak.
Their extensive engineering plastic capability, (the UK’s largest network of dedicated plastic CNC machining centres), is enabling Röchling to rapidly respond and offer support for key lifesaving technologies.
In addition to new medical device projects, Röchling’s existing customers in the bioscience industry are increasing demand for parts as they and their customers urgently put resource and capacity into developing a vaccine to combat Covid-19.
• Micro-machined parts used in regulator valves for oxygen supply lines
• Manifolds, vent parts, and vacuum supports for ventilators
• Technical parts for diagnostic machines
Gloucester: Producing over 13,500 critical components in medical grade plastics, in support of the consortium of companies in the UK Government’s Ventilator Challenge.
High Peak: 28,000 items are currently being manufactured to meet their customers threefold increase in the production of ventilators.
Hitchin: specialist micro-machined plastic parts for valves.
Cable assemblies & wiring harnesses manufacturer based in England have won a new order to produce 11 different wiring assemblies for a new UK Ventilator Project.
Rockford will commence manufacturing in the coming days and then ramp up to production volume over the next few weeks.
Rototherm Group, a world-leader in the supply of industrial instrumentation and services, has designed, developed and brought into production a new face shield, manufactured to European standards for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and CE marked.
The team are ramping up production in the aims of producing more than 10,000 units per day.
THE ROYAL MINT
Based in Llantrisant, Wales, engineers at The Royal Minth have developed and begun mass manufacturing a medically approved visor design – the first batch of which are already in use at The Royal Glamorgan Hospital in south Wales.
The Royal Mint says it can produce thousands of masks a day, subject to getting enough of the raw components. The masks are made with a type of 1mm clear plastic which is, reportedly, currently in low supply.
SABRE PLASTICS TOOLING LTD
A family run UK manufacturer based in Hertfordshire for Tooling and Plastics and also specialise in ultrasonic welding which can be used for filtered face masks.
They can produce quick tooling possible punches to help speed up production if needed.
Currently they are moulding parts for ventilators however they can provide their services for other PPE.
See here for contact
SCALES & MODELS
Small design and manufacturing company, Scales & Models has produced 4,000 3D-printed face shields to date. The Bermondsey-based business is utilising its 25 3D printers to produce around 800-1,000 frames a day in low quality prints and 400-500 units in high quality prints.
The South Yorkshire engineering company has begun manufacturing up to 10,000 regulation compliant face shields a day to help keep UK frontline workers safe.
Eadon Consulting, based in Sheffield, started it’s SheffShield project just two weeks ago in response to the national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE.) The UK based supply chain is already up and running and able to rapidly produce and deliver high volumes of face shields without having to rely on materials from abroad.
Lincolnshire-based SL Engineering has helped ramp up production of ventilators for the NHS after being contacted by VentilatorChallengeUK.
The company volunteered to manufacture small machined components in aluminium and plastics on its multi-axis CNC turn mill lathes, usually used to produce more complex, larger tube and pipe fittings. In just seven days, SL Engineering had production up and running, shipping new customer approved components to GKN’s Luton site where the ventilators are assembled.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
The Medical division of global technology company, Smiths, has increased production of its ‘paraPAC plus’ ventilator at its Luton site to meet increased demand from the UK and across Europe.
Smiths Medical is working with its supply chain to increase weekly production, and is providing the IP for the VentilatorChallengeUK consortiurm to build its ‘paraPAC plus’ ventilator.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK
SOFAS BY SAXON
Lancashire-based furniture manufacturer Sofas by Saxon has started to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS workers and is encouraging other businesses to step up and do the same.
For more on how you can help Sofas by Saxon in their call for other businesses to step up and help the NHS and other frontline workers please see here
Industrial steam specialist, Spirax Sarco Limited, headquartered in Gloucestershire, has begun machining a critical component part for use in the UCL-Ventura breathing aid, a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that is being used to provide potentially life-saving oxygen to Covid-19 patients.
Spirax Sarco responded to an urgent enquiry from Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains, working in conjunction with University College London, asking if the company could produce the component at its manufacturing plant in Cheltenham.
The part is a special design quick-fit connector that helps to safely manage the flow of oxygen, ensuring that as many patients as possible can receive the vital supply they need.
In less than a week Spirax Sarco completed a technical evaluation, wrote the programs required to manufacture the part, produced the first samples, had the samples reviewed and approved, and commenced around-the-clock production, which will continue until the order is fulfilled.
Spirax Sarco began by producing 300 parts every 24 hours but quickly increased this to 450 parts.
SURFACE TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL
UK electronics firm Surface Technology International Ltd is a key member of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, challenged to deliver medical ventilators to the NHS at record pace.
The 30-year-old British company is a leading advanced technology electronics manufacturer, specialising in safety critical products for high reliability industries. In addition to the ventilator project, STI is also working on several other medical projects related to the pandemic.
SURGICAL DYNAMICS LTD
Medical device manufacturer based in County Durham has doubled its space to meet PPE demand and is now producing their GUARD-EX Face Shield, designed to comply with the stringent requirements of high risk clinical areas. The company aims to make 100,000 per week.
TATA MOTORS EUROPEAN TECHNICAL CENTRE (TMETC)
The Design Modelling Operations team at the Coventry- based TMETC are 3D printing hundreds of vital face shields for frontline NHS staff.
The first batch of visors have been made using 3D printers and have been delivered to nurses and doctors at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, a GP surgery in Oldbury and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.
The five-strong TMETC team hopes to ramp up production to around 320 visors a month in the coming weeks.
TMETC, a subsidiary of Tata Motors based at the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) in Coventry, has been supported in the project by some of its suppliers.
Envisage Group is supplying the clear plastic for the visors and some elastic for the bands, ATD has provided all the Velcro and neoprene foam and Wurth has been supplying the fixings.
TECAN PRECISION METAL
Tecan is a Chemical Etching company based on the south coast of the UK which is currently supporting customers within the medical segment with their products supplied including: SMT stencils; etched parts; electroformed parts; contact tubes; perforated parts; grids; nickel plated components.
Tecan have been identified as a key supplier in the supply chain and work closely with a number of organisations to provide precision and micro parts that go into the manufacture of specialist equipment.
TECMAN ADVANCED MATERIAL ENGINEERS
Following the fast-track development of a new disposable face shield to help with the deficit of PPE, Tecman Advanced Healthcare Products, based in the West Midlands, is ramping up production to over 1 million face shields each week.
Thanks to support from their UK-based healthcare supply partners, Tecman have sourced all materials from UK manufacturers, making the protective shield entirely British made.
Tecman are now in discussions with a customer to supply the Department of Health and Social Care with more than 4 million protective face shields each week.
Additionally, the company is providing donations directly to care homes, GP practices, hospitals and key workers.
TESA UK LTD
Tesa 51970 double sided tape is being used to attach the foam protection strip to the face shield in the production of over 1 million face masks to help protect NHS workers.
A laser and 3D printing system supplier based in Surrey with capacity to manufacture PPE for the NHS.
They are currently manufacturing face masks and scrubs for the local hospitals.
TRANSCEND PACKAGING LIMITED
Having achieved the CE mark for Covid-19 protection, Transcend, which has a manufacturing facility in South Wales, will be ramping up production, working toward a target of a million face shields per week and scaling that to nearly two million per week as demand increases.
The face shields – designed for single-use and to provide protection from airborne liquid particles – are currently being trialled in hospitals across Wales, setting the stage for broader deployment within the NHS.
TRB LIGHTWEIGHT STRUCTURES
Huntingdon-based TRB Lightweight Structures is using its material science knowhow and specialist equipment to produce vital personal protective equipment (PPE) based on the Foster + Partners design.
The company has redeployed personnel and machinery that normally create advanced composite components for electric vehicles to produce an innovative reusable face visor, and is now generating 1,000 of these per day.
Casting impregnation specialist, Ultraseal International, already provides intricate masking and powder coating on cast aluminium components used in mechanical ventilators.
To increase production, the business has taken on 25 additional staff in its Slough factory. The production schedule has also moved to a three-shift, 24/7 cycle, up from its normal two-shift, five-day cycle.
The aluminium components which Ultraseal International powder coats for mechanical ventilators include the housing for the screen and keyboard, along with the panels, doors and covers.
The Slough facility usually produces 110 component sets a week, which will now be increased to 520 sets.
UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM
Engineers at the University of Nottingham have designed a PPE face shield with CE approval that they are 3D printing at scale for healthcare workers.
Using the latest technology and materials at the University’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing, and working with external collaborators, the team will deliver 5,000 of the face shields to Nottingham’s NHS and community healthcare workers.
The team have made the design and its accompanying documents ‘open-source’ to enable other manufacturers to produce the face shields – however, manufacturers will need to submit their product for testing to the BSI to obtain their own CE certification.
UNIVERSITY OF SUNDERLAND
University of Sunderland-designed protective face shields are being used by frontline healthcare workers in North East hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak.
Experts from the University’s Institute for Automotive and Manufacturing Advanced Practice (AMAP) and the Sustainable Advanced Manufacturing Project (SAM) designed their own visor from scratch with input from regional intensive care unit clinicians.
The protective shields were evaluated and trialled by medical experts, before the go-ahead was given to produce and supply visors for frontline workers at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI).
Over the Easter holiday weekend the team supplied more than 200 visors, and have since continued to 3D Print and build assemblies following strict sterilisation procedures for ICU requirements.
The production of the equipment has also been supported by companies attached to the University’s SAM project, including Pilgrim Gin which supplied a large quantity of denaturalised alcohol used for part of the sterilisation process.
Leading companies in the aerospace, automotive, medical devices and motorsport sectors have formed the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, under the leadership of Dick Elsy, CEO of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult.
This diverse team is working to manufacture two proven ventilators, selected by the NHS and manufactured in the UK by Penlon and Smiths Medical.
For a full list of the companies involved, suppliers and supporters, click here.
Ventura is based in Bounds Green, North London, and has capacity to make gowns and potentially masks. Contact them via their website here
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Vital Parts has prioritised key production lines for the creation of products frequently installed onto hospital beds, trolleys and ventilation units. During the crisis, the company has maintained the supply of over 300,000 individual components, used to finish off ICU beds and equipment.
To learn more about Vital Parts Ltd, please visit their website at www.vital-parts.co.uk
British workwear manufacturer, Wearwell has begun producing ‘Virustatic Shield‘ – a new product which utilises a patented anti-viral fabric, developed by a team of scientists at Manchester University, working in collaboration with several other world class research institutions.
WESTBRIDGE FURNITURE DESIGNS
The furniture maker who in normal times make sofas for retailers including Marks & Spencer is switching production to make 75,000 protective gowns for frontline NHS workers.
WHAT MORE UK
What More UK, the organisation behind the home storage boxes brand ‘Wham’, has announced that they will be producing parts for safety visors at a rate of 60,000 week “until the country has enough”.
WHERE THE TRADE BUYS
Where The Trade Buys, a Sunderland based business and one of the UK’s leading printing companies, has teamed up with Prime Group to produce face visors for NHS essential workers in the fight against Covid-19.
Where The Trade Buys has committed to make 15,000 units a day while Prime Group, a Nottinghamshire-based digital printing specialist, is targeting a production of 10,000 visors daily to bring the total units delivered to more than 500,000 units per month.
WorkShield is an online shop with a wide range of protective sneeze screens for any workplace. The screens are made from clear acrylic panels, manufactured in a lean manufacturing production line in West London. Click here to watch a video of how the sneeze screens are made.
WorkShield is a venture inspired and created by Michael Krajewski CEO of Steelo LTD. Graduating in Aeronautical Engineering and Armament Design (MSc), he has spent the last ten years marrying his innovative mindset with his devotion to building and growing businesses. Driven by his passion and entrepreneurial spirit Michael created WorkShield to aid business owners, enabling them to get their business back on track following the detrimental impact of COVID-19, whilst keeping employees safe.
YORKSHIRE PRECISION ENGINEERING LTD
Two apprentices from Keighley College are supporting a local engineering company in manufacturing parts for the Ventilator Challenge.
Keighley-based Yorkshire Precision Engineering Ltd specialise in computer numerical control mill and turned parts. Due to the recent pandemic, there has been an increased demand for ventilators across the care sector. As a result, the firm has joined the VentilatorChallenegeUK consortium; a collection of businesses who have come together to produce medical ventilators.
Working closely with Keighley College, two students on the Level 3 Advanced Engineering Apprenticeship have been gaining experience at the firm. Daniel Fuller has been on his apprenticeship since August 2018, enabling him to develop valuable engineering knowledge and experience. Samuel Steventon has been an apprentice at Keighley College since January 2019 and transferred to Yorkshire Precision Engineering Ltd in recently March, following the closure of a local company.
Both apprentices have been supporting the production of ventilator parts, including setting tooling and monitoring the performance and consistency of the two parts.
Yorkshire Precision Engineering Ltd have produced 8,000 brass turned parts and 4,000 plastic mill parts as part of The Ventilator Challenge and will be distributed to hospitals across the country.
*See also VENTILATORCHALLENGEUK