As a British manufacturer who have recently turned years of injection moulding expertise to producing critical PPE, Sky News business presenter Ian King asked our very own CEO, Geoff Elvy, about the re-focus on domestic UK manufacturing and their ability to compete in the global market.
As Ian highlighted “one of the most contentious issues during this crisis, has been the provision of PPE, with a focus on why we produce so little domestically, but with Hampshire-based BEC Group now producing nearly 2,000 face visors per day, a deeply personal project for BEC’s CEO,” the UK is now turning to domestic manufacturers.
Switching Manufacturing Operation
With our design, tooling and plastic injection moulding operation normally focused on plastic parts for a range of industries, producing anything from tumble dryer and kettle filters, to diesel emission reducing filters, smart meters, helmets, electronic casings to anti-flood bricks, the BEC team have seen a considerable switch, in a matter of weeks, to make up the shortfall in critical PPE. As Geoff explained to Ian “now producing two different types of protection, one for Capit-World, the other for Protecting Heroes, collaborating with UK design agencies in a short space of time.”
When asked “why the UK produce so little PPE domestically?” Geoff explained “it’s mainly down to cost, but as we’ve proven when companies put their minds to it, and work with design agencies, we can get the cost down and compete with China. It’s just that the opportunities haven’t arisen until now.”
UK Manufacturers Meet UK Safety Standards
In response to last week’s news that 400,000 PPE gowns from Turkey failed UK safety standards, we have been keen to reassure designers that it’s the UK’s small to medium sized manufacturers who are agile and experienced enough to ensure PPE meets UK safety standards. Equipped and ready to help the nation as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.
When asked about the failed Turkish PPE consignment, the Department of Health and Social Care said in a statement: “All deliveries of PPE are checked to ensure the equipment meets the safety and quality standards our frontline staff need. If equipment does not meet our specifications or pass our quality assurance processes, it is not distributed to the front line.”
As one of many collaborating UK manufacturers here at BEC, our team have been working through the night to reconfigure our operations so we can produce PPE completely in line with those Public Health England and government expectations.
Collaborating with Senior NHS Figures
Strictly adhering to those standards by working closely with senior figures in the NHS, Ministry of Defence procurement, DFID, testing houses and Parliament, so we can get critical PPE that’s fit for purpose to frontline staff as soon as possible. Geoff explains “The validation process, normally achieved after a few rounds of testing and tweaking, has confirmed that our face shield design conforms to the latest, stringent requirements specified by the government to supply to the NHS, first time around.”
BEC – on the Right Side of History
Feedback from Protecting Heroes Community Interest Company with whom we’re working on one of these critical PPE projects, has been extremely positive “It would be hard for myself and members of the Protecting Heroes team to find adequate words to describe our experience working with the team at BEC Group. But let’s start with: Exemplary. Agile. Expert. Problem Solvers. Responsive. Forward thinking. Helpful. Generous. Kind. Working under such pressured and challenging circumstances to produce life-saving PPE, BEC Group have put themselves on the right side of history. Thank you from us at PHCIC and on behalf of the people whose lives they have saved.” said Director, Si Freedman.
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