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GWP wins contract to help in production of face visors for NHS

Matt Dobson: Last Updated 16th February 2024
Posted In: Company News | Industry News xx 31179

Supply of Foam Components for Face Visors

GWP Protective help in NHS fight against COVID-19

Foam packaging specialists GWP Protective have won a contract to assist in the manufacture of face visors. These will be supplied directly into the NHS.

The Salisbury based foam converting team have joined forces with one of its existing customers to supply a total of 5.5 million visors over the next 26 weeks.

These visors will play a critical role in the fight against Coronavirus in a wide range of NHS hospitals and care settings.

Foam conversion
Foam material being converted at GWP Protectives' manufacturing facility in Salisbury

The requirement for face visors and PPE

The scale of the fight against Coronavirus has seen a large and urgent requirement for PPE equipment for frontline NHS staff. This has included the provision for many millions of gowns, masks, gloves, face visors and other protective equipment.

This has seen the government look towards UK manufacturers to ramp up – or begin – production of a wide range of PPE products for supply directly into both the NHS and care homes.

NHS face visors
PPE equipment is being supplied to 226 NHS care trusts, and 58,000 different settings in total

In fact, the normal supply chain for PPE was designed to accommodate delivery to 226 NHS Trusts, but essential PPE supplies are now being supplied to 58,000 different settings, including care homes, hospices and community care organisations.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock was quoted as saying:

Coronavirus has placed unprecedented global demands on PPE supply chains. To tackle this we set a national challenge calling on companies to channel their manufacturing power into manufacturing much-needed PPE.

The resulting drive to produce PPE meant that, when one of GWP’s long standing customers was chosen to manufacture face visors, it turned to GWP for assistance in producing them (thus enabling them to meet a demanding production schedule).

Funding the project

The visors GWP are helping to produce consist of a clear plastic screen, with foam elements to both improve comfort for the wearer and also to prevent the virus from getting behind the screen (effectively protecting the wearer from above).

It is these foam elements that GWP are manufacturing and supplying – producing enough to manufacture 5.5 million visors over the course of approximately 26 weeks.

The company, which used to be known as Eastman Packaging before rebranding as GWP Protective, has already (at the time of writing) supplied around half a million cut foam pads. Various foam sheets are also being supplied.

Richard Coombes, General Manager at GWP Protective, commented;

When we were approached about manufacturing the foam elements of the face visors, we knew this was a great opportunity to help in the fight against Coronavirus. We are pleased that we will be able to play a small part in helping the NHS with this project.

Experience of visor manufacture

Although GWP typically produces foam inserts for protective packaging products (such waterproof casesaluminium containers etc.), this isn’t the first time they have been involved in the manufacture of face visors for health care workers.

Back in April, at the height of the outbreak, they worked with a Gloucester based engineering business – Orthotropic – to produce and then donate around 1,000 visors to local health care workers.

Matthew Dawson, Orthotropic Engineering
Matthew Dawson, Orthotropic Engineering Director, wearing one of the face shields

Both Orthotropic and GWP donated their own time for this project, the cost of parts and materials that were need for each individual visor was calculated at approximately £8.

As such, a Crowd Funding page on Just Giving was created in order to raise a figure £8,000. This then allowed for 1,000 visors to be manufactured and shipped to care workers that needed them.

The design for the visors was also uploaded to the Orthotropic website. This means that it is freely available for any manufacturing businesses to use in creating more of them if they are able to do so.

Ruth Cook, Managing Director of the GWP Group, commented;

We were only too happy to help Orthotropic in producing these visors and helping out key workers who were putting themselves in danger to help others.

Ruth added;

What it also meant is that as we’d already had experience of producing visors like this, we knew straight away our expertise and manufacturing capability would be perfect for producing the foam parts for the NHS contract.

Other help GWP has provided

Besides assisting with the production of face visors, the GWP Group has offered support during the Coronavirus pandemic in a number of other ways too.

This includes donating hundreds of boxes to local charity The Swindon Food Collective (successor to Swindon Foodbank), helping their logistics and ability to distribute food to those in need during the spike in demand caused by the pandemic.

Cher Smith, MBE, with the cardboard boxes GWP have donated
Cher Smith MBE, Manager of the Swindon Food Collective, with the cardboard boxes GWP donated.

Besides the surge in those requiring the charities help, the boxes have also allowed the food bank to support vulnerable people being discharged from hospital during lockdown.

Besides this, GWP has also enabled many businesses in critical industries to remain open through the supply of Correx® safety screens.

These screens have been utilised in factories, production environments and even offices to help maintain staff safety and enforce social distancing. Their use has been widespread in industries such as food production, as well as medical and pharmaceutical based companies that traded throughout the crisis.

Staff safety screens
Staff safety screens manufactured from Correx are suitable for both offices and manufacturing environments

Trading through the Coronavirus Pandemic

Due to the role that GWP play in many supply chains deemed critical by the government, all divisions of the business remained operational during the lockdown period.

Richard commented;

We have been supporting a number of customers that operate in critical industries such as medical, health care and pharmaceutical, throughout the pandemic.

He added;

However, manufacturing the visors has meant we are now considerably busier than we would have anticipated at this point, even as businesses slowly begin returning to normal

Find Out More

For further information on the visors GWP have produced, or other support provided during the Coronavirus pandemic, please use the links below.

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About the Author

Matt Dobson

Marketing Manager | GWP Group

Matt has worked in the packaging industry for approximately 9 years, having joined GWP Group as Marketing Executive in 2012. [Read full bio…]

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