Engineering company starts making PPE at Shoreham Airport

An engineering company has come up with its own design for personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline health and care staff and has started making them at its premises at Shoreham Airport.

Yesterday (Wednesday, 22), Ricardo chief executive Dave Shemmans made one of the first deliveries of the finished product to family doctors in Hove.

The change of focus at Ricardo’s head office was praised at a “virtual” meeting of the Greater Brighton Economic Board yesterday (Tuesday 21 April).

Councillor Daniel Humphreys, who chairs the board, said that it was an example of firms being flexible during the coronavirus crisis.

The Conservative councillor, who is also the leader of Worthing Borough Council, praised the way that firms like Ricardo were supporting the fight against the virus.

Ricardo, which has a research centre and test cells at its Shoreham base, also has a niche assembly line there.

The firm, founded in 1915, has converted its technical centre at Shoreham into a production line to make the face shields.

Councillor Humphreys said that Ricardo’s in-house prototype team had come up with the design for the shield and the firm then worked with suppliers to develop a tool capable of high-volume manufacturing.

Once the prototype had been refined, doctors tested the face shield for comfort and wearability.

Ricardo is now working with doctors’ surgeries, care homes and NHS trusts in the local area so that employees can deliver the finished product.

Greater Brighton Economic Board member Andrew Swayne, a senior manager at Ricardo, said that the company was open for business as usual and that the face shields were an extra offering that it was donating to the community.

(By Sarah Booker-Lewis – Local Democracy Reporter)

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