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UK manufacturers urged to consider switching to making ventilators

British manufacturers have been asked by the government to consider using parts of their production facilities to make medical ventilators amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

Rising numbers of patients admitted to hospital with the virus have meant that the 5,000 ventilators the UK currently have may not be enough to see us through the pandemic.

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said: “anyone who can turn their engineering minds and production lines to making them. We need to produce more.”

A range of manufacturers are thought to have been approached, regardless of what sector they work in.

As reported in the Guardian, JCB chairman, Lord Bamford, said: “We have been approached by the prime minister to see if we can help with the production of ventilators. We have research and engineering teams actively looking at the request at the moment. It’s unclear as yet if we can assist, but as a British company we will do whatever we can to help during the unprecedented times our country is facing.”

A spokesperson from Unipart confirmed that the company had been approached by the government: “Unipart is not currently engaged in the manufacture of medical products although our company has significant levels of expertise in volume manufacturing, some very skilled engineers, and world-leading capability in logistics. We’re pleased to be involved in such an important project and doing everything we can to help.”

A spokesperson for Rolls-Royce said: “We understand that the government is exploring ways in which businesses can help deal with the outbreak of Covid-19. As they shape their plans, we are keen to do whatever we can to help the government and the country at this time and will look to provide any practical help we can.”

How can manufacturers accommodate new products?

It may be that manufacturers add brand new production lines to their facilities in which case, if they don’t want to halt existing production, some sort of segregation would be ideal between existing production lines and new ones being installed. For example, Flexiscreen. This would prevent cross contamination between construction and production and would help with dust prevention.


Even if existing production lines are to be deployed to manufacture ventilators, it would make sense to separate the different lines for hygiene reasons given the type of product that is being manufactured. A retractable uPVC curtain wall for example would be useful to segregate production lines.


For rapid and temporary segregation the use of a modular freestanding solution such as Hoardfast allows business to quickly segregate areas, reconfigure as required and remove easily once the segregation is no longer needed.


There is no doubt many industries within the UK will continued to be impacted by COVID-19 and need to evolve to these changing times, Westgate’s range of partitions can be designed and delivered to suit any number of scenarios. Learn more.

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