Based in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland, Brett Martin is one of the world's leading producers of plastic sheets, so when local company Denroy was looking for a high quality solution for face visor manufacturing, Brett Martin was the natural partner - its aPET sheet, known as Marpet-a FS, proving the ideal solution.
Denroy is one of the world's leading innovators in the design and manufacture of engineered polymer components and solutions. Since 1971 the company has been producing specialised injection moulded products for the aerospace, automotive, medical and defence industries. More recently, it has pivoted its production to help to meet the urgent need for life-saving PPE equipment to aid the NHS in the fight against Covid-19, using Brett Martin's 0.5mm aPET sheet to form face visors.
"Denroy has grown massively since its inception and this is partly down to our industrial and academic partnerships," says Gareth Deering, Commercial Manager at Denroy. "We strive to increase the scope of our manufacturing processes by working with other companies and learning from them - it helps us to keep ourselves at the forefront of manufacturing techniques."
Like manufacturing businesses the world over, Denroy saw a sudden and significant dip in demand at the beginning of 2020, particularly in its important aerospace, defence and automotive markets. The company kept its feet however, and after being approached by health charity HeroShield, found an excellent way to pivot production capacity to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
"As with many other businesses, Coronavirus massively affected our production," continues Deering. "We had to be alive to new opportunities, and when HeroShield approached us for help with the forming of face visors, we didn't hesitate in offering our full support. Face visors are a vital piece of PPE for frontline National Health Service workers and our experience in forming plastic parts for the medical sector meant we were in an excellent position to help."
HeroShield has secured a national contract with the NHS and needs all the support it can get to ensure visors can be made for as many key workers as possible, as soon as possible. "We knew this would be a big project to take on, but with support from our sister company, Denman, and another partner, Crossen Engineering, we were able to get started and then ramp up production very quickly. We have all worked together to ensure that the parts that form the visor are of the highest quality and can be formed and distributed as quickly as possible, allowing NHS workers to get the essential protection they need to keep saving lives."
Denroy had initially turned to surplus, high quality plastic it had in its facility, but once order volume increased, the company knew it needed a specialist solution. The most critical part of the visor, the face shield, would require a plastic sheet of the highest quality - easy to cut and form, and simple to attach to other components, while offering the safety required. They also needed a supplier who could reliably deliver high volumes of material. For Denroy, Brett Martin was the obvious first choice. "We have a long-term partnership with Brett Martin stretching back to our founding year, 1971," explains Deering. "On top of their expertise, the plastic sheets they produce are extremely reliable and adaptable, so it was a simple decision.
"Once they had seen our design ideas, they suggested their Marpet-a FS sheet, and once we started to use it, we saw why. It doesn't fog up at all, ensuring vision remains unimpaired, its robustness means that it retains its shape, it has strong resistance to scuffs and scrapes, possesses excellent chemical resistance, and most importantly - keeps the user safe.
"Our partners at Denman and Crossen have also remarked on its quality. We've all seen how easy it has been to form and to integrate with other parts, such as the headband strap."
Deering expects Denroy will continue making visors for many months to come. "We've manufactured over 600,000 visors for the NHS so far and anticipate this number will continue to rise up until the end of the year. We've also been shipping to the USA and Canada, as well as Italy and other countries in Europe, such is the international demand for highly reliable visors for frontline staff.
"We're now seeing other industries that require close human contact, such as haircare, begin to reopen, so they will also require PPE that can protect their staff and their customers. This is part of the reason Denroy has decided to turn its expertise into developing its own brand of PPE: DenPro, a reliable, high-quality visor that can be sold into a variety of markets."
Deering concludes: "The Brett Martin team's knowledge of the plastics industry and their ability to manufacture high quality products, in volume, is a significant part of why Denroy's relationship with Brett Martin is so strong. As always, we have received excellent advice on this project as well as an excellent product, helping us to fulfil our orders and provide robust, long-life, plastic products of exceptional quality."
Paul Martin, Manager at Brett Martin says: "We're delighted to have been in a position to supply Denroy for this project - one of vital importance to those on the front line fighting against a global pandemic.
"Since March we have dedicated one of our production lines to produce our Marpet-a FS sheets, which are ideal for the forming of protective visors. We have been sending these sheets out internationally, but when Denroy approached us with their plan to supply the local healthcare service, we immediately got involved and started producing sheets for them. Initial, they were producing up to 130,000 visors per week - it has increased ever since.
"We're very fortunate to have highly reliable partners and distributors, who are helping to create this life saving PPE equipment. The coming months will remain hugely challenging for many countries and sectors, but we are determined to continue delivering our plastic sheets wherever needed to help combat the spread of Covid-19."