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Almost a third of UK manufacturers have seen orders decline by up to 50% since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report by Make UK. Not only that, but many firms say it could take up to 12 months to return to normal trading conditions.


Despite these bleak predictions, some manufacturers have been able to turn their fortunes around with a combination of resourcefulness, flexibility and passion.


Necessity is the mother of innovation


When the COVID-19 outbreak forced the UK into lockdown, Ramfoam, a Birmingham-based polyethylene and polyurethane foam convertor, felt the effects almost immediately.


“Our customers operate in sectors that were some of the hardest hit, such as aviation, retail, hospitality and automotive,” says Tim Mulqueen, Group Sales Director at Ramfoam.


“Naturally, this had a knock-on effect on our business as well, and we realised that we were going to have to do something different in order to keep going. We adapted immediately and, fuelled by a strong desire to support the NHS, Ramfoam quickly developed a new PPE product.


Since their request for more firms to manufacture PPE, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) was overwhelmed with applications, and struggled to handle the 14,500 offers of help received from willing businesses.


Ramfoam’s products were already used in medical applications, and Tim and his team were able to mobilise their existing facilities and resources in a very short space of time to develop RamfoamCare+, a protective face visor and foam headpiece that front-line staff can assemble in seconds.


The firm were able to manufacture the foam headpiece using their existing kit and expertise, and in May 2020, Ramfoam were successful in being awarded a contract to produce 3 million RamfoamCare+ kits per week.

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