Well-known for coming up with inventive solutions within the greeting card trade, the team at greeting card printer Windles have diverted their attentions towards helping in the fight to stem the spread of Covid-19. And in doing so have not only manufactured PPE medi-visors, that are suitable for healthcare workers, but could also provide protection for others in the frontline, including retailers and merchandisers. The PPE visors are being sold at cost, with not one penny of profit going to Windles.
The inspiration for the PPE face visors, which are now being manufactured at a rate of 2,000 a day by the Thame-based printer, came from its sales director Andrea Norcott.
“We recently had a job finishing printed, foiled acetate sleeves for a prestigious perfumier brand,” Andrea said, “and I thought we could look at adapting the process for the much-needed face visors that workers on the front line are crying out for.”
The company’s founder and managing director, Bruce Podmore, gave the idea his full support and the the Windles’ team got underway designing, engineering, obtaining materials and registering the newly-developed Medi-Visor with the NHS. With feedback from his sister-in-law being on the front line as an ITU nurse, the company’s creative maestro, Ian Kear-Bertie, was able to ensure that the visor not only offers maximum protection but is also comfortable so as to be worn for long shifts.
Having tested and modified the prototypes to ensure the design conformed to EU directives, the masks went into production at the start of this week and have already received the thumbs up from those in the medical profession.
Professor Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which is ordering 2,700 of the visors a week said the Windles’ Medi-Visor was the best design he has seen so far with the shape and profile allowing plenty of head-rotational freedom and he thinks the tuck-in wings are great for additional protection.
The challenge now for Windles is to get as many of the visors out to where they are needed – be it in hospitals, care homes, on buses or in shops. It seems that with the company name starting with a W is causing something of an obstacle as it appears towards the bottom of list of the PPE providers issued by the government.
As Michelle Mills, the company’s business development and marketing manager revealed: “I spoke to a lady yesterday who runs a care home, she told me about how she’d been at the end of scams and being overcharged by people hiking prices. She told me that she decided to go at things differently yesterday and start from the bottom of the list that has been issued by the government for corona supplies. I discovered the problem, we begin with a ‘w’. We want to help so much, but having our company name start with a ‘w’ poses a challenge. We are now working hard to reach out to as many people as possible and it would great if those in the greeting card trade could help in this.”
The non-for-profit visors are available at two price points, £2.75 per unit for a box of 25 visors, and £2.50 per unit for 900 visors per bulk pallet. Either includes delivery to a UK address.
As Michelle highlights, “The visors are equally appropriate for those in the retail sector, now and when the lockdown starts to ease, providing extra protection to those working in the frontline of retail. We are more than happy to send out as few as one box of 25 visors making it appropriate to shops of all sizes as well as companies concerned about the safety of their warehouse teams.” Contact Michelle Mills on Michelle.Mills@windles.co.uk