Our team of 12 engineers designed concepts for the visor and a prototype was tested locally by medics last weekend to allow production to start as soon as possible.
An initial batch will reach front line medical staff in the next few days and we will produce 100,000 of the masks a week and will be able to supply them directly to help speed up supply to staff working for health trusts and organisations across the region and the UK.
Gavin Ashe, Managing Partner of Kite, said: “Like many companies we wanted to help and realised that we had the capabilities in-house to design a face visor which would fit the requirements of the medics and workers who are on the front line of the fight against Coronavirus.
“Once our engineers had finalised the concept and we spoke to a range of companies in the industry, they have all responded magnificently.
“All of them realised the urgency of the requirement for protective ware and that we had the skills to turn around a product quickly.
“One of the suppliers is Staeger in Coventry while two of the others are based in the wider region. I know there is really good work going on across this area and that the tradition of design and engineering, which is so embedded in regional industry, is well suited to undertaking this sort of work.”
The visors are being supplied in kit form for the medical staff to put them together at the point of use which minimises packaging and speeds up distribution.
The visors feature a foam forehead pad which allows them to fit all head sizes, and they allow for a medical mask to be worn underneath.
They have so far been ordered by the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust, University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust, Shropshire Healthcare Procurement Service (SHPS), Alliance Boots, Warwick Hospital (South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust), Guys and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, North East London NHS Foundation Trust, and Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.
We have previously worked with the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub, and its Managing Director Craig Humphrey, said the speed of response underlined the engineering and manufacturing expertise of the area.
He said: “Kite and their suppliers have been superb in their desire to help, the speed of their response, technical expertise and also their level of co-operation. There are companies across our area responding in similar way and they all deserve massive credit.”
Once an order has been received for a tank, the ‘engineering’ team is assigned a project so that its design details can be fully worked out before going to production.
Peter is the senior project engineer of this team. As part of his job he makes sure designs are technically up to standard and approved and that the right materials are available to start production.
Peter explains why he decided to join Gpi: “I wanted to work in manufacturing, so that I could see the results of what I was doing. Our offices are right next to the production hall, so I regularly take a walk around. I see everything first hand and so can understand for myself why I’m doing it.”
The team’s ‘fount of wisdom’
With his long years of experience, he is a walking encyclopaedia, the team’s ‘fount of wisdom’. Peter is not only happy to help younger colleagues develop their skills, but clients too, both regularly seek out his expert advice if they have questions about their products or projects. Peter draws inspiration from actively listening to clients’ needs and creating well-designed tanks on the basis of a datasheet. He does not have the ambition to be team manager however: “I’ve been temporary manager on a number of occasions, but I much prefer the technical side of things. That’s my forte.”
As to the question as what he would still like to learn over the coming years, Peter responds: “Less work. The company is expanding rapidly and we are always busy, so there are always too few hours in the week. I sometimes find myself sending emails at 3 in the morning because there’s something we might forget or can improve with a good idea. Fortunately, I have a happy and stable home life, but in five years’ time I hope I’ll be working less, as well as enjoying the fantastic products we make a little bit more.”
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