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Manufacturing During Times of Crisis

Eleanor Hubble
18 March 2020


With the current demand for critical medical kit such as ventilators only going to increase as the Covid-19 outbreak becomes more and more serious, British manufacturers may be asked to abandon normal operations and turn their hands to producing emergency medical supplies.

The government may even introduce an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) – which in effect is an instruction for businesses to move to producing essential kit.

A Downing Street spokesperson has stated “We need to step up production of vital equipment such as ventilators so that we can all help the most vulnerable, and we need businesses to come to us and help in this national effort.”

Large companies such as Rolls-Royce Plc and JCB have been mentioned in some reports so far. 3D printing companies are also pledging support, with some companies able to provide metal and polymer parts in a range of materials for medical purposes.

This is not the first time this has happened – during the Second World War the automotive industry in the UK switched from producing cars and commercial vehicles to aircraft engines, aircraft, tanks and a variety of other weapons for the Armed Forces.

Depending on what products are needed to combat the virus in the coming weeks, manufacturers may be asked to think ‘outside the box’ in terms of their capabilities. 

Manufacturers interested in helping out are urged to contact the BEIS Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565 or to visit https://ventilator.herokuapp.com


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