Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the UK economy on the back of COVID-19, there are many good news stories to emerge from the pandemic.
One of those stories relates to a West Midlands-based engineering firm, Tecman, who adapted their manufacturing facility during a time of crisis to support the health and care sector, slowing the spread of infection thanks to their innovative PPE products.
We take a look at the story of this pioneering business that’s dedicated to protecting the UK’s healthcare and frontline workers, and addressing the discomfort caused by ill-fitting PPE.
Our story begins back in March, at the start of lockdown for the UK. Cases of COVID-19 were rising alarmingly, and the worldwide shortage of protective personal equipment (PPE) for healthcare and frontline workers had left the NHS at risk – and desperately in need of help.
Across the media, stories and images were emerging that demonstrated the effects of ill-fitting, uncomfortable protective equipment that NHS workers were being forced to endure simply to do their job each day.
Enter Tecman Advanced Material Engineers, a leading converter and manufacturer of advanced materials for over 25 years.
With a reputation for innovation, Tecman’s expertise in material selection and product design had already led to several ground-breaking developments. While the slowdown in the economy had affected 60% of Tecman’s business, the downturn presented Tecman with an opportunity to support the healthcare sector, by helping with the PPE shortage and addressing comfort issues for wearers.
“Our skills and knowledge presented a huge opportunity to support our NHS and healthcare workers during a time of crisis,” says Kevin Porter, Tecman’s Technical Director.
“We got to work developing a disposable, CE-certified face shield, designed for high volume manufacture, which was the most effective way for Tecman to get vital PPE to the front line.”
This early result led to the establishment of a brand-new business – Tecman Advanced Healthcare Products – and the company began to donate to local NHS trusts, hospitals, care homes and other places of need.
Back in April, the innovative business invested in new premises that enabled the production of an incredible 1 million protective visors each week!
As well as including 10,000 square feet of storage, a dedicated automation system and state-of-the-art machinery, the investment also saw Tecman recruiting 90 new employees, at a time when other businesses were making cuts.
A boost for British industry
Since then, the company achieved the highest possible CE certification for its original face shield (category III complex design PPE level) and has developed a brand-new product to protect those who are required to wear a peaked visor or baseball cap at work.
Where many manufacturers would be satisfied in the face of this success, the Tecman team continues to be driven by the desire to develop PPE that’s ever-more comfortable and protective for the wearer.
Technical Director, Kevin Porter, explains: “While we’re delighted with the success we’ve had so far, we’re now on a mission to become a global leader in the development of a new line of face and eye protection.
“We’ve assembled focus groups containing the people who are actually using our products so they can tell us about their comfort and protection needs – and we’re using this information to make continual improvements to our range of face and eye protection.”
That’s not just good news for workers in health and safety – it’s good news for British industry, too.
Want to know more?
For more information about Tecman’s British-made protective products, email [email protected] or call + 44 (0) 1926 353384.