01:52PM, Wednesday 08 April 2020
A Slough factory has ramped up production and taken on new staff so it can work around the clock to meet ventilator demand from the NHS during the coronavirus outbreak.
Ultraseal International, based in Petersfield Avenue, provides intricate masking and powder coating on cast aluminium components used in mechanical ventilators.
The factory usually produces 110 component sets per week but this has been increased to 520 sets. It has also taken on 25 new workers and moved to a three-shift 24/7 cycle.
Gareth Ridge, operations manager at Ultraseal International’s Slough Service Centre, said the decision to increase production came after the government put a call out to the manufacturing industry to provide more ventilators.
He said: "These are challenging times for everyone, none more so than the fantastic staff at the NHS. We want to do our bit to help, and fingers crossed with more ventilators we can save more lives and get through this as soon as we can.”
The aluminium components which Ultraseal International process for mechanical ventilators include the housing for the screen and keyboard, along with the panels, doors and covers.
Mr Ridge said the production process is 'labour intensive' as the parts have to meet a high medical standard and the coating finish requires substantial masking before powder coating.
The parts are powder coated to allow them to be sterilised for the healthcare environment.
He added: “Along with taking on extra staff to avoid bottlenecks, we’re also using an additional unit next to our factory.”
At the daily COVID-19 press conference on Saturday, cabinet member Michael Gove said the government was working with ventilator supplies in the country to make existing and modified models in great numbers.
He said: "More are coming into production in the coming weeks, subject to safety and regulatory approvals, as part of the prime minister's call to manufacturers to scale up production."
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