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A Swansea based engineering company has adapted its way of working and is now producing surgical masks, creating new jobs and supporting the Welsh Government’s efforts to increase Welsh production of much needed PPE.

First published:
19 August 2020
Last updated:
Brother Engineering plans to make half a million masks per day

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With the help and support of the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Research, Development and Innovation support fund Brother Engineering has joined companies across Wales who are making vital PPE products as part of the Welsh Government’s response to coronavirus.

The Welsh PPE industry now includes more than 25 manufacturers of repurposed face visors, nine companies making face masks, and six producers of medical scrubs.

Thanks to these enormous efforts from the business community, Wales is quickly increasing production capability and building resilience across a wide range of PPE items.

To progress its PPE production, Brother Engineering has opened a new factory in Pontardawe from where, under the name of Blu Thomas Medical, it is manufacturing fully certified CE marked masks for the NHS, care settings, wider public sector and industry.

The facility has the capacity to have four manufacturing cells running with an expected output of half a million face masks per day. It is expected that 20 new jobs will be created.

The Welsh Government has supported Brother Engineering to establish the new factory and enable work to begin quickly, providing more than £250k from its COVID-19 RD&I support fund.

Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said:

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen businesses throughout Wales step up to the challenge of helping us all deal with coronavirus.

“The efforts of Welsh business have been quite incredible. To put it simply, many firms have adapted their usual ways of working, from the products they make day-to-day, to thinking innovatively about how they can protect and save lives threatened by the virus.

“Brother Engineering is a prime example of how the business community has risen to the call. The company’s face mask production capability means it has a crucial role to play in creating a more secure supply of PPE within Wales both now and for the future.

“I want to thank them and every other business involved for all they are doing to help us move closer to self-reliance for the vast majority of PPE items.

Brother Engineering managing director Blu Thomas said:

“We’ve moved quickly to establish this new facility. Staff here at Brother Engineering have shown great commitment to this project by using their engineering expertise to enable the company to be in production.

“We couldn’t have achieved this without some great support from a number of organisation that have helped us get to this point, in particular the Welsh Government, the NHS Surgical Materials Testing Laboratory at Bridgend, and Cardiff University.

“With fully certified CE marked masks now being produced and along with other companies that have adapted to produce critical equipment, Wales will be in a better position to deal with any future crisis.

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