A Warwickshire-based Jaguar Land Rover supplier has launched a medical division to help supply the UK with PPE equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.
Warwick-based Contechs, an automotive design, engineering, and recruitment company, has added medical products to its portfolio.
The new dedicated division – Contechs Medical – has the capability to provide a combined fast track end-to-end service from design, engineering, validation and testing.
Contechs Medical manufactures protective products such as gowns, masks, gloves, and face shields after a substantial investment in new production facilities, equipment, and quality control.
The company responded to the Government’s call to arms for increased PPE supply in March and received its first orders for its gowns from University Hospitals Birmingham (UHB) in June.
It now supplies 10,000 gowns a week.
Managing director Peter Jarvis said: “We see this as a natural diversification for us, to use the skills we have established over the last 25 years to enter the medical sphere to complement our portfolio of services.
“We have leveraged our state-of-the-art automotive and lean manufacturing techniques to the medical market to ensure efficiency, productivity, and cost-effectiveness.
“We’re proud to be supplying Britain’s brave key workers and medical staff with high-quality protective equipment during their fight against the epidemic.”
Contechs was shortlisted out of more than 200 companies in the Midlands to design and manufacture product for UHB thanks to its extensive benchmarking and testing.
It is one of only five of the NHS trust’s suppliers outside the clothing and medical sector.
From day one Contechs hit the ground running, investing almost £750,000, employing a specialist team at the helm as well as embarking on a recruitment campaign to create 110 jobs working over two shifts.
“Following sustainable and ethical practices, Contechs Medical provides clients with full peace of mind that all products are best in class and fit for purpose,” Mr Jarvis said.
“Contechs design and manufacture both in-house and with supplier partners that have been rigorously vetted to deliver total quality and compliance.
“We now aim to build on this success and enter partnerships with other NHS trusts.”
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Simon Clarke, managing director, BHA Shared Procurement Services has praised the company for its efforts.
He said: “Contechs was one of the early adopters following a call from the West Midlands Combined Authority and University Hospital Birmingham Trust.
“It was a critical time when the trusts were not receiving the necessary PPE to keep staff safe.
“Although new to the sector, Contechs was unfazed drawing upon their manufacturing prowess they consistently pushed the boundaries.
“They were the first to come forward with a surgical gown design, the quality of which was far superior to that being used nationally and for which they have now received a CE mark.”
Mr Clarke added: “They have also been at the forefront of the development of a new range of PPE equipment to meet our cultural ethnicity requirements.
“If Contechs hadn’t come forward our medical teams would have been in serious risk.
“Their swift response and efficient manufacturing processes ensured that each of the three UHB trusts had surgical gowns available at all times.
“As a manufacturer Contechs has gone above and beyond and has consistently demonstrated that irrespective of the challenge ahead they have the resilience and sustainability to meet the demands of the NHS.”
The move into the manufacture and supply of medical equipment has contributed to 10% growth over the past year at Contechs and that is expected to increase to 25% growth in 2021.
Contechs provides specialist design and engineering services to some of the automotive sector’s biggest names, including Jaguar Land Rover and Bentley Motors.
It has facilities in the UK, Germany, Slovakia, and India.
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