12th Apr, 2021

Coventry manufacturing firm answers call to help make 10,000 ventilators for Covid fight

Tristan Harris 1st Nov, 2020 Updated: 3rd Nov, 2020

A COVENTRY company which usually makes components for Aston Martin, Bentley and Jaguar Land Rover has been using its expertise to manufacture up to 10,000 ventilators to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients.

Park Sheet Metal, which was founded in 1947 and is one of the region’s fastest growing automotive company, stepped up to help in the UK’s battle with Coronavirus because it had recently expanded its production line.

It included setting up a new distribution centre in a leased building at Bermuda Park constructed by a local developer and funded through £2.4million from the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

The facility was a key part of addressing the logistical challenge of manufacturing, assembling and distributing 10,000 ventilator cases in a short timeframe.

Mayor of the West Midlands and chair of the WMCA, Andy Street, visited the company’s premises at Bermuda Park to see how the move has not only enabled it to expand its operations and its workforce in the area, but also work with Dyson on providing ventilators for the NHS.

The Mayor said: “Here in the West Midlands we have some of the most innovative and resourceful companies in the world, and Park Sheet Metal is a prime example of that.

“By turning their hand to manufacturing ventilators, the company has not only managed to help the country at this time of crisis, but also demonstrated the sort of adaptability that will be needed to drive our economic recovery from this pandemic.

“The company deserves enormous credit for its work, and I am pleased the WMCA was able to play its part in helping the Park Sheet Metal team move into a new distribution centre.”

Dyson had hundreds of engineers working to design the ventilators from scratch but turned to Park Sheet Metal for help in producing multiple complex components for the ventilators.

Park Sheet Metal geared up its operations to meet the 10,000 ventilator target but fortunately manufacturing was able to be scaled down as the three-month lockdown between March and June began driving down the number of Covid-19 patients requiring the life-saving equipment.

Graham Penter, director of Park Sheet Metal, said: “Our team of engineers worked day and night alongside the engineers at Dyson to produce the components, designing, manufacturing and revising prototypes within hours, a process that would normally take weeks or months.

“We soon identified that this was not just an engineering challenge. In order to deliver 10,000 assembled and finished units, there were also significant logistic hurdles.

“We would not have been able to gear up our operations during lockdown to deliver this many ventilators without having this top-class facility which, of course, was facilitated in part with the help of WMCA funding.

“Ultimately, because the ventilator project was scaled back, we did not need to produce the full 10,000, which was clearly good news for the country.

“I would like to think, however, that this was a very good demonstration of a local automotive business using its engineering skills in a really important way. It also demonstrates the strength of our local supply chain as our key suppliers supported us throughout and were a key part of this project.”

Mr Penter added working with Dyson also gave the firm invaluable experience and it was ready and able to support the fight against Covid-19 with another ramp up of our operations.

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