AN AUTOMOTIVE supplier turned face-mask maker from Rugby has been nominated for a regional award in a national manufacturing competition for the way it has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Autins Group has been shortlisted in the Manufacturing Matters category as part of the annual Make UK Manufacturing Awards.
The award recognises companies which demonstrate adaptability and resilience – and this year focuses on organisations which have continued operations despite the coronavirus crisis.
Autins responded to the outbreak by transforming its business to support the fight against Covid-19, producing nearly 200,000 face masks and parts for visors since April.
Faced with a factory shut down at the end of March, Autins re-purposed its own patented Neptune material – usually used for automotive insulation or thermal protection – to create water-repellent, washable face masks.
With most of its UK workforce on furlough, in less than four weeks a small team at Autins designed, developed and launched a technical product into a market about which it previously knew nothing about – a process which would have normally taken anything from three months to more than three years.
Autins CEO Gareth Kaminski-Cook said: “Coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on the auto sector, but our response has been to look for opportunities, pursuing self-help measures to survive as a company and use our expertise to help the UK by supplying safety face masks.
“Luckily, we understand materials and have the right manufacturing capabilities, tenacity and innovative culture to develop solutions quickly – this is part of our DNA. We have supplied hospices, care homes, manufacturing companies as well as to the public. This is the right thing to be doing.”
“While it is good to see our core automotive market has begun to return, we took the opportunity during this period to adapt and play our part to make a difference in the fight against Covid-19, whilst protecting the company, our employees and our shareholders.
“We are delighted the be short-listed for this award and proud to have successfully applied our material, design and manufacturing skills to deliver much-needed safety products.”
The online regional awards ceremony for the Midlands and the East will be held on Thursday October 8. Winners will go forward to the national competition, to be announced later in the year.