Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Leading British flooring manufacturer Amtico has joined the fight against COVID-19 by turning their skills and production capabilities to producing personal protective equipment, or PPE, for frontline workers.
The Coventry based business has been making face shields for NHS and other critical care workers who come into contact with people suffering from the coronavirus. Face shields are worn to protect workers from exposure to droplets that may contain the coronavirus.
Gary Wilson, Amtico’s Head of Technical, said: “we used a material modified from our Signature LVT (luxury vinyl tile) product. This is extremely flexible, durable and it is easy to cut, so we were able to produce the headband with tolerances that allow a secure, comfortable fit.”
Working with local schools to produce the PPE, Amtico was able to improve on an existing shield headband design with the expertise of their technical, CAD and cutting specialists. Following some prototypes being produced successfully, the headbands were delivered to Merchant Taylors’ School in Hertfordshire to be assembled with the face shields.
Head of Design, Engineering and Technology at Merchant Taylors’ School, Andrew Duffey, said: “Amtico has helped us to greatly increase production so that we can help even more frontline staff. When we were laser cutting out own frames, we were producing 650 per week: however, since Amtico have been able to supply the PVC frame, we’ve managed to increase this to 4,500 units per week.”
After being approved for use by an ICU surgeon at Watford General Hospital in early April, Amtico moved into production immediately, free of charge, and can produce up to 20,000 headbands per day.
The CEO of Amtico Jonathan Duck said: “I’m proud of the way Amtico, as a company, rises to new challenges. Members of our CAD, cutting and material development teams listened carefully to feedback from the NHS to make sure the headband was not only functional but comfortable. We were able to draw on our technical expertise, modifying the design for maximum efficiency, scaling up production and helping local schools support the NHS and other key workers.”
Duck did not rule out Amtico continuing to produce other things alongside their vinyl flooring when the global pandemic is over, and the lockdown lifted. Supplying the NHS “may well turn into a whole new stream of business for us” Duck said.
He continues saying: “similarly we’ve found that we’ve picked up new customers in the hospital sector. So a lot of this is just staying flexible for the future and viewing some of the challenges coming through as something you have to run with.”