May 15 coronavirus update for businesses

Lancashire Business View's daily coronavirus updates are brought to you with the support of Boost, Lancashire's growth hub, and its #AskForHelp service. You're not alone in this.

VEKA reopens Burnley plant

Burnley-based uPVC window system manufacturer VEKA has reopened its operations after placing most of its staff on furlough in March.

The company is building up to a full re-opening, with a number of staff remaining on furlough and others now working from home.

Dave Jones, managing director of VEKA UK, said: "Yes, we are open, but we recognise it will take business and indeed our industry some time to recover. Whilst we have some customer demand, this is some way from typical levels; though this is to be expected with little ability for our customers to go into homes to fit windows over the past nine weeks.

"As we look to cautiously rebuild our business in light of returning customer demand, we are thankful for the government’s efforts enabling us and other businesses like us the necessary time to return to what will be ‘the new normal’ and in doing so we hope to return to pre-pandemic levels of business in due course. And on a personal note, I want to once again thank our employees, their families, our suppliers and our customers for their incredible co-operation during these unprecedented times."

UVS manufactures safety screens 

Burnley-based Ultimate Video Solutions, better known for its video walls and associated technologies, has turned its hand to manufacturing the plastic screens (pictured) which are used to help keep staff and customers safe when lockdown is further eased.

The company is working in partnership with Poland-based manufacturing firm Edbak. UVS managing director Steve Murphy said: “This is not something we had anticipated doing but we discovered that Edbak, one of our suppliers, had amended production of products for the audio visual market to help meet demand, and when it became obvious that people in this country were struggling to get hold of them it seemed only right that we should help."

UCLan donates PPE

The University of Central Lancashire has manufactured more than 200 items PPE and vital machine parts for staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, and other ambulance, physiotherapy and care home staff.

So far, UCLan has donated over 100 visors to these workers, which have been made using a water jet cutter in the University’s Wharf Building engineering workshops. Using the cutter, the team have been able to make 10 aluminium-framed visors in just 14 minutes, allowing them to make 40 times the number of face visors that they would with a 3D printer. The material also means that they can be more easily adjusted and disinfected if required.

The University team has also designed and 3D printed modifications to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and created 80 leads for invasive blood pressure monitors at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

Professor Stjohn Crean, pro vice-chancellor (research and enterprise) at UCLan, said: “Our manufacturing team have been exceptional, and have worked day and night to produce as much equipment and parts as they possibly can to help local services. We’re proud to be using our expertise and facilities to support Blackpool Victoria Hospital and other local healthcare providers wherever possible, and will continue to do so throughout this period and beyond.”

Cube HR seeks heroic employer stories

Burnley-based Cube HR is seeking stories of employers who have gone 'above and beyond' during the coronavirus lockdown. Employees are encouraged to nominate their bosses, who will be in with the chance of winning a luxury hamper as well as half a day of free coaching.

Flooring firm introduces stylish social distancing help

Preston-based Gainsborough Flooring is marketing its carpet tiles as a stylish way to encourage social distancing in the workplace. 

The company said: "A good way to help achieve a safe distance is to create zoned areas within the floor; no risk of trip hazards and it will still look fantastic whilst helping people realise boundaries and avoid awkward and potentially unsafe moments."