There are approximately 1,100 manufacturing companies in Cornwall, employing 16,000 staff, accounting for £7.4 billion GVA and a number of them are contributing to the fight against Covid-19.
From Saltash-based Composite Integration, which has diversified to make PPE equipment, to Smith’s Metals in Redruth which is a critical supplier to Falmouth’s Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG), which itself is an essential provider in the pharmaceutical supply chain, across to St Austell-based Polymermedics, which is manufacturing over 40 million tamper seals for drug vials every week, every corner of Cornwall has a manufacturer supporting the NHS.
The majority of members of the Cornwall Manufacturers Group (CMG) have remained operational and are manufacturing numerous NHS products and developing key supply chain materials in direct response to today’s need.
Jon Hurrell, CEO of the CMG, said: “Cornwall Council has just asked our group to make PPE for Cornwall’s care provision and our members are doing all they can. It’s in times like this that the reach and value of Cornwall manufacturing cannot be undervalued.”
It’s not just the products being made but the depth of the supply chain that is so valuable as well.
Hurrell added: “Wadebridge-based members Daften Die-casting source from Smiths Metal’s and manufacture fully-machined and powder-coated die-castings for WMFTG and we also have Partech, located near Bugle, who are specialists in water quality monitoring, providing critical support for water and wastewater treatment operators internationally.
“The diverse nature of our members specialisms is hugely influential in the UK’s infrastructure.”
Penryn-based European Springs & Pressings is making catheter clips, Teddington Systems is making water isolation valves for the Nightingale Hospital, Bodmin-based CHX Products has designed tools and are injection moulding 5000 PPE face shields a week with Fitzgerald Lighting making lights for Basildon hospital.
Eric Nicholls, chair of the CMG, said: “With The Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy writing to all manufacturers, highlighting the industry as a critical part of the UK economy, it is with great pride that we see our members delivering and driving solutions to NHS infrastructures.
“Beyond the members mentioned, there are many manufacturing companies in the county still working to support the larger economy. Manufacturing can and does continue to operate within the Covid-19 H&S guidelines, the nature of how we work in large, organised and spacious sites, with our office teams now working from home, helps us to do that. The UK manufacturing sector accounts for £192 billion of output, the ninth largest in the world, and we will help the economy to recover.”
Adding to the breadth of NHS support, the Bodmin site of West Pharmaceutical manufactures moulds for a global network with products from these moulds delivering seven in every ten injections in hospitals globally.
Technical expertise, spare parts and repairs from Western Mechanical Handling, sited at Callington, have also aided the manufacture of oxygen masks.
Nicholls concluded: “We have been working with Make UK, Stephens & Scown and Bishop Fleming to co-ordinate Covid-19 H&S, HR & finance advice to all our members. These webinars and the feedback of Covid-19 related manufacture from our members has highlighted the skill, experience and determination of the sector.”
Across signage supplied by Parc Signs throughout hospital sites to PV3 Technologies making hand sanitiser, to Prima Bakeries supplying bread rolls to NHS hospitals and making free products available for the emergency services and NHS, Cornwall’s manufacturing sector is doing all it can to help combat the impact of Covid-19.