Swansea-based Brother Engineering has become the first mask manufacturer in Wales to gain the regulatory approval needed to be able to supply the Welsh NHS.
The engineering firm has adapted its way of working in recent months to support the Welsh Government’s efforts to produce and supply vital PPE items.
The move, which is backed by the Welsh Government’s COVID-19 Research, Development and Innovation support fund, has created new jobs including employing three people who were made redundant from local companies as a result of the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Under the name of Blu Thomas Medical, the company’s surgical masks, which are produced as its factory in Pontardawe, can now be used in Welsh hospitals and health care settings.
It is also donating 60,000 high quality masks to local charities in the Swansea area that will be working with people in need over the Christmas period.
The firm now has the capacity to produce up to 5 million CE marked, type IIR fluid resistant masks a month, which are used to protect frontline NHS and health care sector workers.
Thanks to these enormous efforts from the business community, Wales has significantly increased its production capability and is building resilience across a wide range of PPE items.
Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, Lee Waters said: “It’s great news that Brother Engineering’s Blu Thomas Medical can now begin supplying vitally important masks to our NHS and health care workers.
“Throughout this incredibly difficult year, we have seen our businesses really step up to the challenge of helping us produce much needed PPE.
“I’ve been truly amazed at the lengths our firms have gone to adapt their ways of working and thinking innovatively to join our efforts in dealing with coronavirus and supporting those on the front line of our health service.
“I want to thank everyone at Brother Engineering for all of their hard work in producing such a crucial item of PPE and it is a testament to the skills and capabilities of the workforce.”
Brother Engineering Managing Director, Blu Thomas said: “We are delighted that through our investment and hard work we have been able to satisfy the regulatory requirements that could enable us to supply masks to the Welsh NHS and beyond.
“The team here has worked long hours to achieve this, but we have also had tremendous help from the Welsh Government who have assisted with funding and accessing expertise, and from specialists at Cardiff University and the NHS’ own Surgical Materials Testing Laboratory.”