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NOF highlights contribution energy sector supply chain is making in fight against COVID-19

Posted on 20 April 2020

NOF, the national membership body for business involved in the energy industry has been working with members and the wider supply chain to collect good news stories on how we are as a strong community helping to support the national fight against COVID-19. 

Businesses are stepping forward and stepping up and for that valuable contribution we must recognise what we as an industry are achieving in such challenging times.

Deputy chief executive, Joanne Leng MBE, said she was extremely proud to see the support for the NHS, as well as other essential services, from those operating within the energy sector supply chain.

Efforts range from donations of PPE, the production of face visors and hand sanitiser, to maintaining and prioritising the manufacture of critical medical equipment – all the while continuing to work in challenging conditions.

She said: “Those operating in the energy sector supply chain already play a crucial role in this country’s economy and once again they are demonstrating their skills, expertise and agility by offering timely and practical support to our NHS heroes.

“In many cases, this vital work is being carried out from home or companies have set up specialist production centres and introduced new working practices to ensure they continue to operate in a safe environment.

“While I’d like to pay tribute to those businesses that are responding and give some serious kudos to my fellow energy sector friends and colleagues, a special word must go to the essential workers who continue to go into their workplace in order to keep this country running and maintain our vital services.”

Contributions from NOF members include:

  • Billingham-based engineering software and services company Phusion IM has downloaded a pattern, via the 3Dcrowd initiative, to its pair of 3D printers to produce headbands, which are then fitted with laser cut plastic sheeting to create protective face shields. These are being supplied free of charge to local GP practices.
  • Mechanical and industrial engineering specialists Francis Brown Ltd is co-ordinating the distribution of facemasks and visors to hospitals and healthcare providers across the Tees Valley. The Stockton-based firm is part of the Tees Engineering Network which launched an appeal for local companies to donate spare or unused PPE to the NHS.
  • A team of graduates from global subsea services provider DeepOcean and its trenching division Enshore Susbsea aim to raise £100,000 by completing a series of mini challenges. The money is to be donated to County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust to support frontline NHS staff. The company has an offshore maintenance facility in Blyth and is headquartered in Darlington.
  • INEOS built a new hand sanitiser plant at Newton Aycliffe in just ten days and has begun production of one million bottles of hand sanitiser per month. It is running three round-the-clock-shifts to provide hospitals with free hand sanitiser.
  • Paragon Rapid Technologies, based at Middleton-St-George, near Darlington, is continuing to fulfil critical medical parts orders as well as offer its services to medical sectors to help with PPE manufacture. Together with supply partners RPS and Carbon, it has been 3D printing face shields and visors and has so far assembled 5,000 face shields for hospitals across the North East.
  • ESCS, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of surface preparation and surface coating equipment, is currently working on a project to assist with the disinfecting of ambulances to enable them to return to service more quickly. The Middlesbrough-based family firm believes the application will also benefit other areas of the health service.
  • Cramlington-based Quanta, which provides engineering, procurement and construction services to the energy industry, is reviewing its PPE stores in order to donate items to local hospitals, including coveralls, safety glasses, goggles and gloves.
  • Durham University is manufacturing facemasks for use by medics in the Durham area.
  • James Walker & Company, which is at the forefront of fluid seal development and materials science, already works with the NHS supply chain manufacturing parts for ventilators and oxygen equipment. The firm, which is based in Cockermouth, West Cumbria, has made such components a priority, with urgent orders being quickly completed. In addition, James Walker was quick off the mark in registering with the UK Ventilator Challenge organised by Innovate UK.
  • Seahawk Apparel manufactures specialist fire retardant, anti-static and water protective workwear and is already a supplier to the NHS. Operating from Glenrothes, Scotland, its team has demonstrated its ability to turnaround enquiries very quickly – one recent NHS order for multiple-sized scrubs was manufactured and delivered in under ten days.
  • Part of the Aberdeen-based Texo Group of companies, Texo Accommodation has launched a range of modular products to meet demand for increased safety and social distancing. These include flexible office and welfare space, test centres, hand washrooms and sanitary units. It has delivered several modular systems in the UK and Europe to support customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joanne added: “The magnificent efforts of our proactive and innovative supply chain highlights that this dynamic sector continues to be adaptable, responsive and possesses a wide range of engineering and design knowledge and is playing its part in this time of national and global crisis.”