May 11, 2020 @ 13:09 by Richard Dawson
Consett-based medical device manufacturer, Surgical Dynamics, has recruited 10 new members of staff as part of a shift in focus to produce 100,000 face shields for NHS workers per week.
The increased demand for PPE has seen Surgical Dynamics expand its factory space, adapt production processes and now employ more people to produce the protective face shields.
The small company was able to adapt quickly and has produced a CE certified product – the Guard-EX Face Shield – using raw components, which are sourced locally.
With production now well underway, bosses hope to reach 100,000 units per week and have taken on two full-time supervisory staff and eight temporary team members to achieve this.
To ensure social distancing is maintained, the factory at Number One Industrial Estate has also been expanded by 5000 sq ft.
Mark Jessup, managing director at Surgical Dynamics, said: “Like most people we felt helpless whilst watching the pandemic unfold.
“We really wanted to help the frontline staff who are putting their own health at risk to save others.
“We were able to produce a prototype shield fairly quickly with the knowledge and equipment that we have in-house.
“We then needed help with approvals and distribution, which is where the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) is proving invaluable, helping us to get the product into the right hands.”
The AHSN NENC is currently supporting Surgical Dynamics by connecting the company to NHS organisations across the North of England.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have also helped to review and advise on the design, to make the face shield suitable for use within the NHS.
The company is now concentrating efforts on securing orders from across the region, the UK and beyond.
Charlotte Fox, innovation manager at the AHSN NENC, added: “The AHSN NENC is currently working with NHS and industry to support the provision of PPE by connecting the dots between supply and demand.
“We are delighted to offer support and advice to innovative regional companies such as Surgical Dynamics, which uses a local and sustainable supply chain to manufacture essential products for our healthcare system.