Honeywell is to build a new UK production line that will make 70 million COVID-19 face masks over the next 18 months.
In a deal with the government that will create around 450 jobs, the Fortune 100 company will produce up to 4.5 million FFP2 and FFP3 disposable face masks per month at its Newhouse site in Scotland. FFP3 masks are likely to make up 60 per of output on the new line.
The government has ordered SuperOne face masks, with production expected to start as early as July. The masks will be distributed by the Department of Health and Social Care to the National Health Service (NHS) and social care settings to protect frontline workers.
In a statement, Will Lange, president of Honeywell’s PPE business said: “Honeywell is committed to getting safety gear to those who need it most, including workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19.
“Our Newhouse facility has both the physical capacity and technical capabilities to launch a large-scale respirator production line in such a short timeframe.”
Honeywell’s Newhouse plant specialises in electronic systems assembly and testing and other advanced manufacturing capabilities for several of Honeywell’s business groups, and will continue to do so alongside the new face mask line.
“These 70 million masks are the result of our challenge to UK industry to scale-up domestic PPE manufacturing,” said health secretary Matt Hancock. “This deal is brilliant news for the whole United Kingdom, which will not only deliver the masks we need but create around 450 jobs in Newhouse, Scotland. I’m delighted to team up with Honeywell to open up another avenue to get millions of masks to the frontline and strengthen our ongoing response to the outbreak.”
Today’s announcement is said to be the latest in a number of steps the government is taking to ramp up PPE production and distribution. New collaborations between the government and organisations including Amazon, the Royal Mint and Jaguar Land Rover, will see increased production and delivery across all PPE products.