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Manufacturers respond to COVID-19 challenge

Manufacturers across the country, including a specialist springs manufacturer in Rochdale, have answered the call to help produce ventilators and other medical products like hand sanitiser.

The government has been seeking assistance from manufacturers since 16 March to increase the supply of ventilators to the NHS in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

One of those supporting the drive is Rochdale-based Hanson Springs, which is now supplying specialist springs to JRE Precision, one of the companies helping to produce ventilators.

The springs being supplied will be used in control panels which supply oxygen to patients. Director John Hanson told BusinessLive he had rushed production through once he found out how the springs were going to be used. He explained:

“We will hopefully be operating throughout the shutdown. We have extended our operating times to reduce the number of people on site at any one time, asked people to work from home wherever possible and are muddling through each day like every other business.”

“What allows us to react so quickly is that we hold a vast range of wire sizes and grades in stock, so no matter what the spring design is we can normally accommodate it.”

A growing number of other companies not usually involved in the manufacturing of medical equipment have also switched production. Carmakers Nissan and McLaren and aircraft manufacturer Airbus are understood to be producing parts for ventilators in the UK, with Ford, General Motors and Tesla doing the same in the US. Dyson has also announced that it is working to develop a new type of ventilator for the healthcare system.

Meanwhile, chemicals giant Ineos is rapidly constructing a new factory at its existing site in Middlesborough that will be dedicated to producing hand sanitiser for the NHS. Distilleries, breweries and other alcohol producers have also started to make hand sanitiser. This includes Aberdeen-based brewer BrewDog, which said it will be giving its ‘punk sanitiser’ away for free to those who need it.

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