Punchline Business and Community Champion: Plastim supplying precise help
By Rob Freeman | 4th May 2020
A Gloucestershire engineering firm has revamped its shift pattern and taken on extra staff to supply precision parts for ventilators and medical visors.
Plastim operations director Warren Ironside insists they are just happy to help in the production of vital equipment in the treatment of coronavirus.
Based at Ashville Business Park in Staverton, Plastim machines and supplies plastic and technical industrial components.
The family firm has supplied more than 100 tons of Omni-Acetal engineering plastic for the manufacture of more than 10,000 ventilators vital to help with the care of patients with COVID-19.
"We are here to help people," said Mr Ironside, who took over the running of the company from his father in 2000. "Even if we can't do it, we want to help find the people who can."
"We've taken on two extra people to help machine the parts and two extra people in the warehouse who would have been left without a job during this crisis.
"We've supplied materials for more than 10,000 ventilators in the UK and a lot of the parts are going to Europe as well."
He continued: "We are the only ones in Gloucestershire machine finishing the completed item, supplying the customers with the materials and components for the ventilators."
All that effort has seen Plastim named a Punchline Business and Community Champion.
The company's specialist work is playing a key role in the ventilators with precision engineering key to their success.
"All the parts are washed twice through the process, cleaned and treated before sending to ensure there are no burrs," said Mr Ironside. "It is treated with a lot of care.
"These parts are used to send air straight into the lungs, so they have to be perfect."
The work has gone down well with members of staff who have seen an unexpected benefit as they adjust to social distancing measures in smaller teams.
"Staff are working three 12 hour days a week, be it Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday," he said.
"They are loving it as they are still getting paid for 40 hours a week, but not working that much and getting days off."
As well as the parts for the ventilators, Plastim is also making parts for medical grade visors.
"It's all to the required standard," he said. "It's not the disposable ones, it's not going to be thrown away. It costs a lot more but there's no reason why it can't last a couple of years.
"We are a zero-to-landfill company. All the waste goes to the incinerator and provides energy. We are also carbon dioxide friendly and we plant trees to offset what we use."
Started in 1997 by Doug Ironside, Plastim's parent company is Omnia Plastia in Italy - and there's a familiar face running another subsidiary in the family's native Johannesburg, Plastem.
"Dad didn't take well to retirement so he started up in South Africa," said Mr Ironside.
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Punchline's Business and Community Champion Awards are sponsored by:
The Growth Hub Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire County Council
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