A North Lanarkshire-based company says it will begin production of more than 70 million face masks for NHS and care workers across Britain, helping to protect them during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Honeywell has been selected by the UK Government to manufacture the personal protective equipment (PPE) at its Newhouse site, which will also create around 450 new jobs.
The company typically works on aerospace products and services, control technologies for buildings and industry and performance materials. But it will now change its production lines to be able to produce around 4.5 million of its FFP2 and FFP3 disposable face mask per month.
Production is expected to last for around 18 months.
Commenting on the new partnership, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock commented: “These 70 million masks are the result of our challenge to UK industry to scale-up domestic PPE manufacturing.
“This deal is brilliant news for the whole United Kingdom, which will not only deliver the masks we need but create around 450 jobs in Newhouse, Scotland.”
Hancock added: “I’m delighted to team up with Honeywell to open up another avenue to get millions of masks to the front line and strengthen our ongoing response to the outbreak.”
The new deal is the third face mask production line Honeywell has announced in the last two months, including two new manufacturing lines in the US for the North American market.
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In a statement, Will Lange, president of Honeywell’s PPE business, said: “As a global leader of high quality personal protective equipment, Honeywell is committed to getting safety gear to those who need it most, including workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.
“Our Newhouse facility has both the physical capacity and technical capabilities to launch a large-scale respirator production line in such a short timeframe.
“We are proud of our teams who are bringing new manufacturing capabilities to the United Kingdom as quickly as possible to support the country’s response to the pandemic.”
Honeywell’s Newhouse plant specialises in electronic systems assembly and testing and other advanced manufacturing, and this production will continue alongside the new face mask line.