Workers from Vauxhall’s Luton plant this week downed their regular tools in favour of slightly more clinical surroundings to meet huge NHS demand for ventilator production.
Vauxhall is providing 22 staff to the Luton site of Smiths Medical, a division of Smiths Group plc, which is being tasked with significantly increasing production of Smiths Group’s paraPAC plusTM. These ventilators are approved and have been in use within the NHS for over 10 years.
The staff – 20 assemblers, plus a Team Leader and Supervisor – were hand-picked from Vauxhall’s Kimpton Road Plant that produces the Vivaro van. They were chosen due to their specialist skills and ability to carry out intricate production work to a very high standard.
Working on a static production line, the team will conduct in-line quality testing as the ventilators are produced, with a stringent pass/fail safeguard in place to ensure that the units meet the highest possible standards.
Matching the three-shift framework adopted by Vauxhall’s Luton Plant, each team member will work a 40-hour a week. The team will work overtime as required during the secondment, which lasts until July 31.
All employees will be respecting Vauxhall and Smiths Group’s strict COVID-19 protocols to keep them safe while they work together on this important effort.
‘I’m immensely proud that Vauxhall workers have been able to make such a valuable contribution during these difficult times,’ said Stephen Norman, Managing Director, Vauxhall Motors. ‘Our plant employees are used to working on lines where repeatable high quality is essential, and I’m confident that their skills will transfer exceptionally well to the production of much-needed ventilators for the NHS. Vauxhall will continue to work with the British Government to support other similar initiatives.’
Julian Fagge, Strategy and M&A Director, Smiths Group, said: “On behalf of Smiths, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Vauxhall for joining the fight against this terrible disease. This initiative is part of the extraordinary efforts being made by British industry to help maximise production of ventilators and save lives.”