24 September, 2020

Industry doing its bit

23 June, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has proved to be a particularly formidable trial for people from all walks of life. People haven’t been able to attend loved ones’ funerals, friends and family are often only able to communicate face-to-face via some kind of digital conferencing service rather than personal visits, and many business are feeling a pinch that the simply never saw coming. However, many firms, universities and associations are rising to the COVID-19 challenge.Those operating within the engineering, fluid power and other related sectors are a heartening case in point.


A new project has been launched to unite engineers from across the world to help solve challenges deriving from the Covid-19 pandemic. Professor Peter Ogrodnik, a biomedical engineer from Keele University, is leading the project in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering Designers. The Institution is calling for engineers and designers to join it and help tackle some of the biggest issues affecting the NHS and care providers, which could include creating a device to enable a frail person to accept a food parcel, the mass production of ventilators and testing surgical masks after they've been sterilised.

Tyre inflation and compressed air products provider, PCL, made the decision recently to recommence limited operations at its facility in Sheffield to support key sectors who remain open for essential work, including the automotive industry and emergency services. Production was temporarily suspended following the Prime Minister’s announcement forbidding all but necessary travel. However, restricted production and logistical activities resumed following further dialogue with government representatives. The Sheffield site is up and running subject to strict provisions and PCL has introduced adaptations to the production process, using skeleton staff who are being protected through meticulous measures including social distancing and the provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning equipment. Meanwhile, remote working continues for office staff so PCL can continue to offer a high level of customer service.

A number of British Pump Manufacturers’ Association (BPMA) member companies have been supplying products and equipment into essential services, from food & drink processing to water supply and utilities, from pharmaceuticals to medical equipment. One such company is Bristol-based Apex Pumps, who recently received an enquiry from a well-known chemical company for an ATEX certified pump, required to handle ethanol, a key component in hand sanitiser. The requirement was to help increase production of hand sanitiser for use across the NHS and the wider UK market. The pump set was delivered within 5 days, having been designed and built at the company’s production facility in the UK. BPMA member Grundfos is also playing a significant part. In this its 75th Anniversary Year, the Poul Due Jensen Foundation (the Grundfos Foundation) recently elected to expand its normal £16 million donation level and remit, to £25 million, allowing it to pledge some £9 million specifically to support research into COVID-19.




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