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Growth Hub helps RBMUK see barriers as a breakthrough

An Oldham-based manufacturer is helping businesses get back on track after COVID-19 disruption, through innovative product development in collaboration with GC Business Growth Hub.

Rotational Bespoke Manufacturing (RBMUK) Limited has adapted two of its existing products to provide protective barriers and hand-sanitising stations for industry, to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in workplaces and offer businesses a blueprint for safely returning to work.

Like many SMEs across the region, RBMUK was forced to radically scale back its operation in March 2020, when the Government issued wide-ranging restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

Having recently concluded its fifth and most successful financial year in February 2020, RBMUK saw major orders cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak and was forced to furlough the majority of its staff, weathering a significant operating loss in March.

Having benefitted from a broad range of Hub support services over the past three years, RBMUK’s Director Tony Douglas (pictured below) was quick to reach out to manufacturing advisor Martin Hyman. Tony and Martin identified an opportunity to adapt one of RBMUK Limited’s existing moulded products into a protective screening solution for enforcing social distancing within workplaces.

Martin also signposted a Hub-facilitated webinar for local businesses to share best practice in mitigating the effects of COVID-19. Hosted by Oldham MPs Jim McMahon MP OBE and Debbie Abrahams MP, the webinar and connected Tony with another local business – D Atkinson Ltd – who were able to provide an essential element of the newly-conceived barrier system.

The mould for RBMUK’s existing pyramid barrier product was adapted to hold Powder Coated Fencing, or Clear Screens (to suit customer requirements), with D Atkinson Ltd gladly providing the bespoke screen element.

Each barrier unit is one metre wide, providing instant social distance assurance – in line with the latest government guidance. RBMUK’s existing mobile Grit Bin was also adapted to integrate a backing panel, so that it could accommodate a sanitising dispenser, located directly above a storage bin.

RBMUK director Tony Douglas

Both novel solutions have now been installed at RBMUK’s Oldham factory and are now available to other businesses seeking to safeguard their workplaces. Following a surge in public sector orders for the pyramid barrier system, RBMUK is now returning to full operational capacity and welcomed back its remaining furloughed employees in June.

Clocking on safely at RBMUK

In September 2020, RBMUK became the first business in the UK to initiate a brand new disinfectant system from Medi-Clean Technologies at its factory. At the start of each shift, employees enter the booth where facial recognition identifies them and records their temperature while they take a quanity of hand sanitiser.

When the employee passes the initial screening, they then move into the channel by passing through a disinfectant mist for several seconds, in which their skin and clothes are completely sanitised for up to 24 hours.

RBMUK's new disinfectant system

They repeat this process when they clock off. If an employee’s temperature is too high, an alarm will sound - in which case they will not be allowed to proceed any further, and the business can take appropriate safety actions.

The system records data using an app connected to the company’s computer network, to show the temperature at the start and end of each shift; the clocking in and out time can be checked, as well as many other features.

One of the team, John Moran, said: “RBMUK is a busy factory and it is great that we have this device. It’s a quick process and it is reassuring that we all know our temperatures are ok and we have been disinfected before we start work and when we go home”.

Manufacturing advisor Martin Hyman said: “The installation of this technology underlines RBMUK’s commitment to providing an extra layer of safety and hygiene as we deal with the ongoing issues of COVID-19.

“The disinfectant mist is 100% environmentally friendly and is the first non-classified, highly effective, disinfection product in the world that has a Simplified Authorisation (UK). Not only that, but the disinfection chemistry has had EU-approval for healthcare, veterinary, farming, food industry, and retail – it’s fantastic to see Medi-Clean’s technology adopted by Tony and his team in Chadderton.”

We’re extremely grateful for the support provided by the Hub during the recent COVID-19 pandemic and indeed over the past 3 years. Having an advisor and team on hand who really understand our business – as well as the wider manufacturing industry - has been invaluable in helping us get our business back on track.

The Hub’s local network has provided a perfect platform for collaboration and innovation, which has helped us get all our people back to work safely and our order book growing again.

Tony Douglas, Director at RBMUK Limited

It’s incredibly rewarding to see businesses like RBMUK Limited find their feet again after facing unprecedented challenges in recent months. We’ve always found them to be extremely proactive and open to new ideas, helping them benefit from the diverse support on offer from local partners.

No business in Greater Manchester should feel they need to face these challenges alone. The GC Business Growth Hub is here to help stabilise businesses in the short term, protecting income and employment across all sectors - and to help get your growth ambitions back on track for the future.

Martin Hyman, Manufacturing Advisor at GC Business Growth Hub
For more advice on business recovery, visit our COVID-19 manufacturing guidance page or book an appointment with one of our specialist Manufacturing Advisors via
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More information is available on the UK Government’s Coronavirus Business Support website.  For more personalised advice call us on: 0161 237 4128 or email us at:


The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.

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