Tees firm’s work results in production of 50 million face shields

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A company has revealed how the work of its team on Teesside has resulted in the production of more than 50 million face shields to protect front line workers during the pandemic.

DuPont Teijin Films (DTF) – a leading manufacturer of polyester films and coatings – also provided supplies of its clear plastic film to local community groups and face shield makers to safeguard staff in hospitals and care homes across the Tees Valley.

More than 80 people work at DTF’S Global Innovation Centre at The Wilton Centre near Redcar.

DTF’s product range includes specialist clear and anti-fog coatings which are used in medical face shields and visors.

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, the company said its Teesside team designed “innovative additions”, including expanding the portfolio of innovative optically clear films, which within a week were put into production at its manufacturing sites in Scotland and Luxembourg.

This allowed its customers – the manufacturers of face shields – to meet the unprecedented increase in demand from the health, retail and hospitality sectors and they have so far provided them with more than 50 million protective items.

Dave Wall, global technology director for DTF, said “We have been proud to play our part in responding rapidly to the challenges of the pandemic which is a credit to the dedication and commitment of our teams in Wilton, Dumfries and Luxembourg.”

DTF said its staff at The Wilton Centre will continue to develop the next generation of optically clear films for use in face shield and face mask applications to meet the increasing needs in the market.

Meanwhile the company is also involved in a major research project at the University of Birmingham to develop new products which help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Scientists have already discovered, for example, that the virus can survive for several days on smooth surfaces – such as plastic and stainless steel – but for only a few hours on newspaper.

Work is ongoing to identify the surface properties that cause this difference and incorporate them into novel products for PPE and other applications, said DTF.

The Wilton Centre is also home to a number of other businesses which are engaged in vital Covid-related work.

Absolute Antibody has been working with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms who are developing treatments.

Vaccine developers have shown an interest in the precision and large-scale production capability provided by Micropore Technologies.

While Lloyds Register GMT (LR GMT) is one of the few in the companies in the world to provide a fuel-testing service for ships, helping to ensure that the UK’s vital supply lifeline has been maintained during the pandemic.

Claire Morton, the accommodation manager at The Wilton Centre, said: “We are so proud of the work of all of these businesses.

“The pandemic has highlighted how important scientists are to society. They are the people who will make sure we get out of this. I hope they get the recognition they deserve.”

The Wilton Centre forms part of a national network of science parks – known as the Knowledge Factory – which cover over 1.7m sq ft and are home to more than 200 businesses.

The Wilton Centre is one of the biggest parks – with more than 60 businesses who employ 750 people.

For more information visit its website wiltoncentre.com.