25 June, 2024

Goodbye 2020 – And good riddance

01 December, 2020

One thing’s for sure, much of the year 2020 will be reflected upon in infamy as long as annals of history exist. However, as we have previously reported, amid the adversity has arisen some tales of laudable endeavour within our industry. While the pandemic – without mind or purpose other than to continue to proliferate in a spirit of brazen biological abandon – continued to wreak havoc throughout the globe, many businesses, trade bodies and educational establishments inter alia within the fluid power industry and  related disciplines re-strategised in order to play their part in the cause against the unseen menace.

For example, filtration and contamination monitoring technology provider, MP Filtri, did its bit to support frontline health professionals by devoting its 3D printing operation to the creation of PPE. The company created masks for doctors which were supplied to surgeries in some of the UK’s worst hotspots for the virus. And throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, apprentices at Moog 3D-printed components for face shields that could be used by the NHS. The company’s team in Tewkesbury created the visor frames, which were then sent to Moog’s Wolverhampton facility to be finished. The result was the provision of many critically needed face shields delivered to NHS facilities and care homes across the country, including some to the company’s local Tewkesbury Community Hospital.

A new project was launched earlier in the year to unite engineers from across the world to help solve challenges deriving from COVID-19. Professor Peter Ogrodnik, a biomedical engineer from Keele University, led the project in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering Designers. The Institution called for engineers and designers to join it in helping to tackle some of the biggest issues affecting the NHS and care providers, which included creating a device to enable a frail person to accept a food parcel, the mass production of ventilators and testing surgical masks after they had been sterilised.

Following the first nationwide lockdown, tyre inflation and compressed air products provider, PCL, decided 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. PCL introduced adaptations to the production process, using skeleton staff who were protected through meticulous measures including social distancing and the provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and cleaning equipment. Meanwhile, remote working continued for office staff so PCL could continue to offer a high level of customer service.

As we move into a New Year, the impacts of the pandemic will unfortunately continue to be felt for some time, even though we can now look forward to the rollout of vacines that recently have been proven to be above 90% effective. This should be the key catalyst to a move in the direction of normality. Also, at the time of going to press, there are murmurings that the UK and the EU are in the final stages of striking a Brexit deal, which hopefully, if all comes good, will prove to be to most people’s and company’s benefit over the short, medium and longer term.

Regardless of the bad hand we were given this year, it is of course important to look ahead with a spirit of unflinching optimism, and although we as a nation remain behind the US and Germany among some others in terms of the rate of adoption of digitally transformative technologies, the UK does seem to be embracing related concepts at an increasing pace, which bodes well for our prosperity and other countries’ understanding of us as a nation that is firmly positioned at the cutting edge of technology. So, here’s to a better, brighter, more successful and, most importantly, happier 2021. Let’s raise a glass to the New Year and to the real hope and opportunity that lies at its heart.

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