For many businesses, the swing towards producing PPE has allowed them to keep services open, keep workers in jobs and crucially; survive the current pandemic and subsequent economic uncertainty.
A number of Greater Manchester firms have changed what they produce to help make essential PPE during the pandemic; from protection to pillows, hand sanitisers to gin.
Textile firms and manufacturers from across the region have been making surgical scrubs, face masks, and gowns, while gin distilleries and breweries have been utilising their alcohol supplies to make hand-gel sanitisers.
In Middleton for example, Comfy Group, the bedding manufacturer, has altered production by adding face masks to its roster of products.
The Group has switched sections of its factory to the production of non-medical face coverings, production of which will now be boosted on the back of the latest government guidance on the use of face coverings on public transport and in public places.
The firm says both its disposable and reusable coverings are made to, ‘Government standards’ and will be available to bulk buy for businesses wanting to protect their staff, for schools wanting to protect students and teachers, as well as directly to the general public.
Comfy Group has more than 40 years experience in textile manufacturing, and during the current crisis has donated hundreds of vital bedding products including; duvets, pillows, and bed linen to local hospitals, including, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust and Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.
Managing director Bob Moryoussef said, “As Britain transitions into the ‘new normal’, it would have been remiss of us not to re-focus our manufacturing capabilities from being solely on bedding when there is a real and urgent need for institutions, businesses and the wider public to have access to PPE such as masks. We’re proud to have ploughed our near half-century of experience into producing masks and have managed to manufacture quality options that meet the protection and comfort needs of those who’ll wear them.”
Another innovator during these times has been Salford gin maker, Zymurgorium (zymurgy, the scientific study of brewing and emporium, a place where things are sold) which has converted production to make affordable hand sanitiser.
Aaron Ross Darke, managing director at Zymurgorium said, “Our main goal and ambition is to ensure no one is being ripped off when purchasing hand sanitiser, especially at this crucial time when it really is a key necessity to ensuring people’s safety. We want ethics to be front and centre of everything we do and being able to produce and provide quality hand sanitiser, currently, the most reasonably priced on the market is absolutely essential to us. We hope our new fair pricing structure will have a knock on effect for those currently producing hand sanitiser as we look to welcome the challenge of providing a top quality product that ensures the safety of our customers without them compromising on price.”
Similarly to Zymurgorium, HMG Paints began to re-purpose use manufacturing capabilities and existing alcohol stocks to make hand sanitiser for care providers front-line workers, and charities several weeks ago.
HMG developed the HSE approved, First Thing Sanitiser, which comprises over 70% alcohol, after workers and their families reported being unable to find products at other locations.
The coatings manufacturer has expanded its production lines as businesses across the country re-open and begin implementing measures in line with government rules.
“Many of our current customers have placed regular supply orders with us for hand sanitiser as they begin to return to work and implement ways to protect their employees,” said John Falder, managing director. “The First Thing Sanitiser being approved by the HSE has meant we have increased our production capabilities on the sanitiser line. By manufacturing right here in Britain, we can guarantee our customers a fast and continuous supply which will allow them to utilise First Thing Sanitiser in their working safely policies during this current time.”