Port Talbot manufacturer set sights on life science market

Having mobilised to assist UK Government efforts to combat Covid-19, a Port Talbot company specialising in the manufacture and global distribution of precision instrumentation, has now become the UK’s first safety goggle manufacturer. British Rototherm Group’s expansion into the production of personal protective equipment saw nearly two centuries of manufacturing heritage and expertise applied to the creation of face shields and face masks that were desperately needed by the nation’s front line healthcare workers. The result has been over 1 million visors and 10 million face masks created per month and a company headquartered in Wales, with further operations across the globe, that now has its sights set on the global life sciences market.

Over the past 175 years, British Rototherm Group has grown to become a global leader in the provision of temperature, pressure, level and flow measurement solutions, working in the defence, beverage, oil and gas sectors, among others. The organisation exports to over 90 countries worldwide, with exports doubling in size over the last five years. The company’s products, specifically industrial gauges, ultrasonic level transmitters, temperature probes and pressure measurement equipment, have been installed wherever reliability and long-lasting performance is demanded across all industries, including the life sciences industry.

The establishment of its RotoMedical division and diversification into personal protective equipment (PPE) began with a collaboration with UK Government to develop urgently needed face shields for the NHS. Since the pandemic’s arrival in the UK, the Port Talbot manufacturer has increased production capacity of plastic face visors from a 1,000 per day to 250,000 every week. That rapid success has catalysed further expansion into the life sciences sector, as Rototherm has progressed to produce BSI certified Type IIR face masks, which are surgical grade and designed for use by healthcare professionals.

A partnership with the international safety company, Bolle, which has its European headquarters based in Lyon, has secured RotoMedical as Bolle Safety’s exclusive UK manufacturer of PPE eyewear for the healthcare industry. With RotoMedical fast emerging as a leading Welsh manufacturer of PPE and medical equipment, the company has ambitions to double its workforce as it bids for a series of UK and European Government contracts, as well supporting Bolle’s distribution of the Goggles across its European channels. It now has the capacity to produce over three million safety goggles each month.

Tarkan Conger, Business Development Director at Rototherm Group said: “Our ambition has always been to continue to expand and develop the business, and in turn to create more jobs for the local economy. The partnership with Bolle will enable us to build on our industrial expertise and innovation as we embed ourselves in the life sciences sector, expanding into new manufacturing capabilities and markets.” As a commitment to Welsh innovation and partnership, the Bolle face shields and goggles will use locally sourced raw materials.

As well as for the UK marketplace, which is where over 90% of their PPE sales currently sit, they will also be exported to a number of other key global markets. The company will continue its instrumentation manufacturing alongside PPE and is set to further its proliferation into the international market with a recently formed partnership with another global leader in the instrumentation industry, Emerson. Oliver Conger, Managing Director at Rototherm Group said: “We’re proud to be an SME in Wales, and the drive is to continue securing partnerships with other companies both in Wales and beyond.

Life Sciences Hub Wales has established links throughout Welsh industry, and we’re committed to further partnerships with SMEs and global manufacturers alike. We’ve invested everything we’ve got into the local economy and into the business, which will continue as we expand internationally.” Commenting on Rototherm’s achievements in producing PPE and becoming the UK’s first safety goggle manufacturer, CEO at Life Sciences Hub Wales, Cari-Anne Quinn, said: “British Rototherm’s work is another example of the incredible innovation, hard work and desire to help that we have seen from industry in Wales.

Their commitment to expanding their Welsh manufacturing base to produce healthcare PPE in response to the pandemic is testament to the company’s impressive innovation and capabilities.” The Welsh Government has worked with more than 300 businesses throughout Wales to produce important supplies to respond to coronavirus since the First Minister’s call to action last year. This has included manufacturing PPE, hand sanitiser and ventilators right here in Wales.

In addition, the Welsh Government has worked hard to safely transport supplies and equipment needed from abroad and provided crucial support to companies through the SMART Cymru COVID-19 Research, Development and Innovation Fund to quickly develop much needed supplies.

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