9 12. COVID-19

PPE Help | COVID-19

Midton products to help with the fight against COVID-19

Midton have developed a range of bespoke products to help with the fight against COVID-19. We’ve expanded from face shield production to include protective screens for workspaces, such as shops and offices. Offering a range of standard sizes, alongside a custom design and installation service, we want to help businesses in Argyll & Bute get back on their feet. We take sustainability seriously and are thinking ahead to what we can do with the shields when they're no longer required. Working on the basis of a scrappage scheme, we are now offering our customers cashback on the material cost of all shields we produce. We will then recycle this material and reuse it in our manufacturing process.

Creating new products from old, reducing our consumption and driving towards a more sustainable future. Call our customer team and they will guide you through the process.

Our approach to Covid-19

How we diversified to help those most in need

When Coronavirus hit the UK in March 2020, Midton, like most businesses, faced a challenging time.

Like all other non-essential businesses we were forced to close our doors due to Covid-19.

But we knew we couldn’t just sit and do nothing so examined our in-house supplies and production capabilities and offered our services to the UK government following their call for support in building ventilators and supplying related components.

We have an extremely skilled workforce, and coupled with our machinery, they could make a valuable contribution.

Being part of the local community and supporting those in it, has always been something that Midton have been proud to promote. We couldn't sit back and watch it unfold on the news, we had to help people in need.

We awaited the government response to our offer of skills and machinery.

What could we do while we waited on a government response?

Stepping up to help deliver vital PPE

Whilst watching the true extent of Covid-19 unfold as it wreaked havoc across the world, it became apparent that there was a dire shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), nationally and locally. 

After donating our own stock of PPE, including FFP2 masks, face fit kits and air fed 3M Jupiter hoods to our local hospital, we quickly realised that we could produce the vital kit needed for our NHS and key workers.

We collaborated with local NHS Directors and Product Designers and started looking at different face shield designs which we could produce from our current stock; offering them free of charge to our local NHS and key workers.

And so, we began with the rapid prototyping stage.

Our COVID-19 Journey

The stages we went through helping our NHS and key workers

Rapid Prototyping
Rapid Prototyping
NHS Approval
NHS Approval
Crowd Funding
Crowd Funding

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Rapid Prototyping

Our product designers worked on 3 prototypes

Following our appeal for donation of materials, it became apparent that by collaborating with different businesses and craftsmen, we would be able to come up with a suitable prototype.
4c Engineering from Inverness got in touch as they were on the same journey as us.  After sharing their research and designs, we were able to come up with 3 different prototypes to take to our local NHS board for approval.
Using the stock that we had in the factory, we started our rapid production:
  • Design 1: 3D printed headband, buttonhole elastic for adjustment and clear visor.  This design was the most sustainable as it is reusable and can be disinfected for the next use.
  • Design 2:  Using one of 4c Engineering’s designs, this was made from 3 materials; a clear visor, foam strip and elastic.  This particular design was the cheapest and simplest to make, while also being disposable for NHS infection control.
  • Design 3: Using a laser cut piece of acrylic as the headband with elastic and clear visor.  While this design was less preferable compared to the likes of designs 1 & 2, it could be introduced if stock materials became harder to purchase and get delivered.

NHS Approval

3 Samples sent for approval by our local NHS

We rapid prototyped 3 designs within 24 hours and sent to Mid Argyll and Oban hospitals for approval.

Design 2, developed from 4c Engineering’s designs, was approved.  We sent the foam and elastic design into rapid production to get our NHS staff the vital PPE equipment. Design 2 was chosen for infection control as it was decided that reusable face shields would be impractical with the time required for effective sterilisation at the end of each shift in the hospital environment.

However, Design 1 was not discounted.  Many other key workers including ambulance teams, care homes, pharmacies and many more, preferred this design.

As news began to spread of the work we were undertaking, a wide variety of key workers started putting in orders for their teams.

The next step in our journey was to build a team to help manufacture both designs.  Our first initial order from both hospitals was 2000 units with a further 500 of the reusable design for our key workers.  While we wanted to do our bit with the resources we had, we also needed to be mindful as to how much we could afford to donate towards this journey in protecting our cash flow in an uncertain future.

Crowd funding and local donations

We had an amazing response from our local community

The news of Midton manufacturing the all important PPE spread like wildfire, which meant that we quickly realised the current stock levels of materials wouldn’t meet the demand we were beginning to experience.

We put a call out for help to our local community and the response back was outstanding.  Everyone wanted to help with many donating materials from their business.

Our calls for donations of clear film changed to foam and elastic.  It was becoming increasingly difficult to purchase due to the global demand for these materials. Our local community pulled together and the support was overwhelming and delivered large quantities of stock to our factory gates.

We wanted to continue to produce our face shields free of charge so we launched a crowdfunding page to pull in more funds to continue to make this possible.  We set an initial target of £2000 which was smashed within hours of launching.  The target was increased multiple times, with each increase, the generosity of the general public kept exceeding those targets.

We are proud to be of such an amazing community in rural Scotland.

Manufacturing the approved prototypes

A volunteer team of 8 helped deliver 500 face shields a day

Like all other non-essential businesses, Midton was forced to close its doors and down tools on 24th March 2020 due to COVID-19.  Given the uncertain times we faced together, we made the decision to furlough our staff in order to protect the future of our business.

We put a call out on Slack, our internal communications tool, to all our staff for help.  A volunteer team was the key to success to work through the growing orders of free face shields.  As always, our staff did us proud and we quickly had a volunteer team of 8 in production.

A safety induction was conducted within the grounds of our car park, ensuring that everyone worked safely and the government’s guidelines on social distancing were adhered to.  The Directors shared the prototyping stage and trained the staff on the processes needed to manufacture the face shields rapidly.

The team split into 2 teams of 4 and were able to produce 500-600 face shields a day.  With the growing demand we had volunteers working from home, assisting in the allocation of orders and donations.  Within days of the operation starting, we had delivered numerous batches of 500 face shields across Argyll & Bute.

Amazing work as always by team midton, stepping up and delivering when needed.

Some pictures from our journey

An emotional time for all involved