Forfar textile firm Don & Low has received multi-million pound Scottish Government support to buy a specialised machine for the production of material to be used in top grade respirators for the coronavirus fight.
The Scottish Government, via Scottish Enterprise, has agreed to provide the Angus company with up to £3.6 million towards the £4.5m purchase, import and installation of the equipment for their plant on Forfar’s Glamis Road.
The machine is the size of a double decker bus and has been sourced from a supplier in Germany. It is due to arrive at the Forfar plant in 14 lorry containers.
Once operational, the factory will produce meltblown material filter fabric for use in FFP3 masks, the highest designation of respirator.
It will make Don & Low one of a handful of companies in Europe capable of supplying the filter material used to make the respirator masks.
Scottish Government Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation, Ivan McKee, said: “Covid-19 isn’t going away any time soon, so while we have enough masks to protect our frontline health and social care workers now, we are also taking a long-term view to build PPE manufacturing capability in Scotland to meet future need.
“During these challenging times it’s encouraging to see so many Scottish businesses quickly diversify their product lines and invest in new equipment to help us deliver what is needed, when it’s needed.”
Don & Low director, Colin Johnson said: “We are pleased to be supported in making this new investment that will allow us to use our existing expertise to address the shortages of these key materials during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”
Scottish Enterprise managing director, Linda Hanna said: “The unprecedented demand for face masks has highlighted the fragility of existing global supply chains.
“Investing in this equipment alongside Don & Low will simultaneously boost domestic manufacturing and supply while creating export opportunities.
“Most importantly, it means the highest-grade medical face masks will continue to be produced for those who need them most.”
In late March, Don & Low announced part of its business would close to allow the company to direct efforts towards the production of face masks for NHS workers.
It said the company’s woven textile manufacturing facility would shut, with available staff transferred to non-wovens production.
The long-established firm was acquired in 1999 by Thrace Plastics, part of the Greek-based Thrace Group, which has 20 firms worldwide.
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