1645: Calls for summer shutdown to be brought forward

As manufacturers across the UK begin to scale back operations due to the coronavirus crisis, one manufacturer has called for this year's summer shutdown to bee brought forward. Stephen Edge, group engineering director at service provider AIS Vanguard, explains: “Many manufacturers operate with annual shutdowns, which allows them to execute corrective and planned maintenance needing major outages in a controlled way. They do this as good management and to allow machinery to be out of service while not greatly impacting the supply chain. However, we’re in an unparalleled period of disruption and manufacturers are reacting to this to reduce the commercial impact of the pandemic.”

“It makes sense to consider bringing outages forward where they can, and we would expect that this is already being scheduled to make use of any reduced production periods they may currently be facing. In this way, manufacturers will put major outages behind them when the Covid-19 outbreak has subsided and they need their machinery to run.”

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1500: Automation specialist 'ready' to help coronavirus efforts

Industrial robotics specialist Sewtec Automation is waiting to hear if it can manufacture medical ventilators for the NHS after responding to the government’s recent call for help. The £28m turnover, 116 employee company, which is based in Wakefield, provides turn-key solutions delivering complex industrial automation systems for global blue-chip clients including those in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors.

“We are eager to help the NHS by using our skills to produce ventilators," said Sewtec Automation’s managing director, Mark Cook. "Our in-house engineering skills are world-class, directly relevant to the manufacture of precision medical devices and available to help in any capacity, however small.

“We recognise that the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is probably overwhelmed with current events. We just want them to know we are standing by to play our part during this extraordinary set of circumstances. If anyone can help us make connections to accelerate the project, I would ask that they please contact me directly.”

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1030: Make UK to host employment law webinar

Make UK is holding a series of webinars for manufacturers attempting to navigate coronavirus. Tomorrow (Weds 25th March), the webinar will focus on the employment law considerations facing employers around the COVID19 pandemic.

Register at https://lnkd.in/gCzqczW

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0945: Ineos to build hand sanitiser factory in ten days

Manufacturing giant, Ineos, has announced plans to produce 1 million hand sanitisers per month to help with the European shortage. These will be produced according to World Health Organisation specifications and be specifically designed to kill bacteria and viruses.

INEOS is the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitisers – isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol. The company is already running these plants flat out and have been diverting more of this product to essential medical use and will now build two new factories to make hand sanitiser from them.

Supplies to NHS hospitals will be free of charge, with the public able to purchase them from stores. Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of INEOS said: “INEOS is a company with enormous resources and manufacturing skills. If we can find other ways to help in the coronavirus battle, we are absolutely committed to playing our part.”