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Manufacturers grab PPE lifeline

There’s nothing like a cliche in a crisis – ‘in these unprecedented times’ and ‘the new normal’ have become ubiquitous. ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ is another we will no doubt hear a lot as manufacturers switch production to counter a catastrophic decline in demand for their core products.

For some, the manufacture of face shields has been a lifeline – and a valuable contribution to the PPE provision for frontline workers.

DisplayMode, a provider of retail and point of sale displays, began making the shields on a not-for-profit basis to avoid having to furlough staff. It started out producing 10,000 masks a week, but within just two weeks was making 100,000 a week. Over the same period, the cost per unit has fallen from £5 to £2.

Binding specialist Renz responded to a 75% collapse in orders in a similar fashion, using its expertise and spare manufacturing capacity to produce a lightweight Protective Face Shield now certified by ECS GmbH, the European Certification Service.

Graphic display specialist Leach is partially compensating for a big dip in orders from its museum, exhibition and leisure sector customers by launching a range of social distancing window, floor and wall graphics and establishing a new e-commerce arm. Following orders for 10,000 square metres of social distancing graphics in the last month alone, Leach is now printing hundreds of stock visuals that can be bought through a dedicated virtual shop at

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