January 6, 2021 @ 8:51 by Richard Dawson
A Washington-based supplier of personal protective equipment (PPE) has invested more than £2 million in new machinery to boost production and create 100 jobs in the region.
The news follows PFF Group’s appointment by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to manufacture 360 million disposable polythene aprons to meet increased demand for PPE.
PFF began manufacturing aprons using existing machinery purchased from international suppliers but has now invested in faster machines manufactured in the UK.
The company worked with Hanbury Autogil to design and commission the new machinery, which is now being installed at the manufacturing facility in Washington.
PFF has employed 100 new staff for the duration of the DHSC contract, as it ramps up 20-hour production at the Washington site.
Kenton Robbins, group managing director of PFF Group, said: “We worked closely with DHSC on due diligence ahead of our appointment as part of the Government’s ‘UK-Make’ initiative to source PPE from Britain.
“Demand for PPE has soared globally, with 210 million plastic aprons needed every week in the NHS alone.
“In just six months, in the midst of a pandemic and while continuing to support the UK’s food retail sector through the production and supply of food packaging, we worked in collaboration with the Hanbury-Autogil experts, to set up a new capability and capacity to manufacture disposable aprons.
“We have been able to design and build two innovative, all-British machines that are the fastest and most reliable in the world, enabling us to significantly increase production.
“We are delighted to be able use our specialist sector knowledge and in-house expertise to ensure the UK’s need for PPE can be met during and beyond the pandemic, as well as creating job opportunities across our two sites in the current challenging climate.”
PFF is one of the UK’s largest independent food packaging manufacturers, providing packaging solutions to supermarkets, multi-national food manufacturers, food service and fresh produce companies across the UK.