Gardner Aerospace – Rapid Diversification to Support the Ventilator Challenge

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As the spread of Covid-19 rose in the UK during late March I think like allot of businesses we were surprised by how quickly it affected our ability to operate with any degree of normality. Our site in Derby was forced to close for a two-week period whilst we made the facility ‘Covid Safe’, and also tried to work out a short-term plan conscious of the impact both on our customers and also our own internal and external supply chains.

On 8th April we received an enquiry to supply ventilator casings to a company called Smith & Nephew, based in the North-East. We’d seen other manufacturing organizations joining the since dubbed ‘ventilator challenge’ and we wanted to do our bit to support the national effort. The three Gardner sites to support the manufacture of the casings would be Derby, Basildon and Broughton. We returned from the shut-down and deployed a small team of Machinists and Manufacturing Engineers in order to rapidly industrialize the parts.

In less than 4 days from receiving the order we were supplying casings at full rate into Smith & Nephew. It was an excellent team effort, fueled by the fact our employees were working on such a worthy project, and clearly demonstrated Gardner’s agility and ability to bring new products to market at a rapid pace.

The experience gained from this project, and subsequent impact on the Aerospace supply chain has given Gardner Aerospace Derby the appetite and the necessity to diversify not only into new areas of our existing sector but also to consider targeted diversification outside of Aerospace. We have since started to produce detailed parts for Seamers, a local manufacturer of hand crafted bespoke joinery solutions.  

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