WEC Group rises up to the Ventilator Challenge

Lancashire-headquartered Engineering & Fabrication company WEC Group have recently heeded the national call to arms from the government for manufacturers to assist the country’s response to the current COVID-19 outbreak.

The Darwen-based business joined other UK manufacturers in the national effort to build more ventilators for the NHS as well as key medical equipment for the Nightingale Hospitals being built across the country.

Despite tough trading conditions brought about by the new challenging lockdown restrictions and social distancing rules introduced at the start of the pandemic, WEC Group managed to repurpose some of their manufacturing facilities to help the fight against the virus.

The company started actively promoting their extensive capabilities and medical manufacturing experience through social media and within days, WEC managed to engage with the newly formed VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, which was tasked with producing 10,000 ventilators to the NHS on a tight timeframe.

The consortium, spearheaded by some of Britain’s best-known Aerospace, Formula 1 and Medical sectors companies, such as BAE Systems, Airbus, McLaren, and Penlon to name but a very few, has leveraged their significant UK industrial, technology and engineering expertise to rise up to this mammoth task.

After a swift pre-qualification process, WEC’s Laser Engineering division in Darwen managed to win an order to despatch a first batch of laser cut and folded parts for the Ventilators trolleys. The order was manufactured and despatched within just 24 hours from the initial receipt of the enquiry and after successful approval of the parts, WEC has now moved on to larger batch production, with ongoing weekly deliveries.

Wayne Wild, WEC Group’s Commercial Director, said: “After superb first response from our marketing and sales teams to offer our full range of services to the new Ventilator supply chain, we’ve managed to secure some key contracts for the NHS and we’re very proud to help the cause in lots of different areas by producing parts and equipment to fight the virus. We are also immensely proud of our team who worked around the clock to exceed a hugely ambitious timeframe!”

Meanwhile, WEC Group also managed to win a large laser cutting and stainless steel fabrication contract from one of their existing clients to manufacture key medical equipment for the new Nightingale Hospital being built at the NEC in Birmingham, whilst the company’s Machining division acquired a contract in support of the VentilatorChallengeUK initiative by supplying 8,000 precision machines parts for the ventilator system following the arrival of their new Miyano ABX-64SYY CNC sliding head lathe.

Continues Mr Wild: “We are all very proud to have managed to deliver 3 arctic lorries full of parts on Good Friday for the new Nightingale Hospital. The parts were laser cut and fabricated in just 4 working days despite the current challenging conditions, and we are already working on another similar delivery next week. Brilliant work from the team over the Easter Bank Holiday to meet our customer’s requirements. We are now also tendering for the supply of fabricated assemblies for specialist hospital beds and would like to thank all our staff who have showed an outstanding sense of duty despite challenging social distancing conditions.”

WEC Group remains committed to support all their clients in key industries which are essential to the country's response to the current crisis such as Medical & Research equipment, Food Processing, and Commercial Delivery Vehicles to name but a few. To see a full list of our manufacturing services, please see our Services Page.