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Business & Economy

UTS provides specialist machinery to help Barbour make PPE for the NHS frontline

UTS Engineering has designed specialist machinery for international clothing brand, Barbour, as it produces personal protective equipment (PPE) for local NHS Trusts.

It was a reunion of sorts for UTS managing director, Shaun Sadler, who comes from Jarrow and started his career at Barbour more than 30 years ago.

Barbour is currently manufacturing 1000 to 1500 disposable gowns a day and the first shipment of PPE was delivered to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) on April 10.

The South Shields factory is working six days a week with a twice daily delivery of gowns to the RVI and other NHS Trusts across the North East.

Jarrow-based UTS operates in the utilities sector, manufacturing pipe fittings and fabrications and delivering them on site, anywhere in the UK, within 24 hours.

The company has manufactured rigs to carry the heavy rolls of fabric used to make the medical gowns, which Barbour says has been “crucial” in its ability to adapt production at its factory.

Shaun Sadler, said: “We are fighting a battle against an invisible enemy and companies must step up and use their resources to assist the national effort. The NHS staff are true heroes and we must keep them safe at all costs.

“Barbour is doing an absolutely amazing job at supplying our NHS Trusts with PPE at an incredibly fast rate and we are eager to help them in any way we can. So far, we have donated two rigs which we designed and assembled from scratch.

“We are looking at other things we can do to help assist production. It is heartening to see that local people and local companies are coming together to support our communities and NHS workers.”

Tom Sweeney, product development and technical services manager at Barbour, said: “We would like to thank Shaun and everyone at UTS Engineering for their support. The rolls of fabric we use for PPE gowns are far heavier than those we normally use.

“The rigs supplied by UTS Engineering enable us to handle these rolls and have been crucial in our ability to adapt the factory to make PPE.

“Shaun’s enthusiasm and willingness to help is very much appreciated and it demonstrates what can be achieved when local companies come together in the fight against COVID-19.”