A trio of Tees Valley businesses have taken the fight against Covid-19 to a new level by manufacturing specialist products designed to help stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Chemical company Seqens, specialist embroidery firm Imprint Applications and Chem-Clean UK have all played a vital part since lockdown from their bases on Teesside.
The firms, three very different manufacturing operations, have re-purposed their businesses to tackle the disease head on with some innovative solutions.
Speaking to Tees Business as part of our latest Facebook Live series, the leaders of each company said the move simply felt like the right thing to do in the current circumstances.
Seqens, formerly Chemoxy, usually makes products including cosmetics, paint solvents and petrol additives at its plants in Billingham and Middlesbrough.
The firm already uses ingredients that go into hand sanitiser and since lockdown, turned its attention to making it in much larger quantities which were donated to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough to be distributed around the hospital and care home and health centres across Teesside.
“We are a bulk chemicals manufacturer,” explained commercial director Alastair Lloyd.
“We had an opportunity here to put something into the NHS, something they were in dire need of.
“It was something we hadn’t thought about before the pandemic. Our first instinct was that we wanted to help above anything else.”
A total of 9,000 litres of hand sanitiser were delivered, said Alastair, which went some way towards ensuring the hospital did not run out of vital supplies.
Steve Davies runs Middlesbrough based Chem-Clean UK. The company has an innovative fogging spray system that kills 99.99% of viruses and bacteria – including Covid-19 – which uses a dry mist meaning sensitive office equipment can be deep cleaned easily and effectively.
Enquiries are already flooding in from workplaces planning to re-open to staff and customers.
“All of our enquiries are geared towards people going back to work, getting staff back and giving people the confidence that the workplace has been de-contaminated. Also peace of mind for customers,” said Steve.
“Enquiries are coming in right across the board. People’s minds have changed, everyone is more conscious of things like washing their hands.
“I don’t see that changing within the next couple of months. Enquiries and interest I don’t think will slow down.”
Middlesbrough based Imprint Applications brands work, school and sports wear. It had just invested in new technology to start manufacturing garments when lockdown was announced.
With no demand for its usual business, the firm realised it had all the equipment it needed to start manufacturing face masks instead – including bespoke versions with logos for teams such as caterers, for example.
The project is just a few weeks old but is already being well received – and the firm is donating a percentage of the profits from each mask to the Teesside Philanthropic Foundation charity.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty and lots happening with masks,” said Ash Robinson.
“People just want to feel safe in their day to day life and if wearing a mask makes you feel safe and it is a necessity as well, it is a great opportunity for us to jump in to.”