Uniformal turn their talents to manufacturing face masks

By Maurice Garvey

BALLYMOUNT business Uniformal “pivoted” in the early stages of Covid-19 – re-directing their talents into large scale manufacture of face masks for the health sector.

In normal times, Uniformal design and manufacture premium uniform clothing and work wear for the hospitality sector and drinks industry.

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Barry McCabe and Chiara Keating of Uniformal are now manufacturing face masks on a large scale for the health sector

Just like thousands of other businesses, they faced a bleak future with the lockdown and loss of revenue.

However, apart from one week in March when they closed and co-owners Chiara Keating and Barry McCabe figured out a plan, the business has been flat out manufacturing reusable and disposable masks.

“We were very badly hit but immediately we thought about doing something people needed,” said Chiara.

“We closed for one week but then brought back our staff and it went very well. We first starting looking at nursing homes and got a big order from the HSE. Once the HSE had enough PPE equipment, we started doing a lot of private groups, banks, An Post and then we started doing pharmacies.”

The company actually had to increase their production capacity at their design studio and factory in Fashion City.

According to Barry McCabe, they increased staffing levels from 20 to 30 to keep up with demand.

Ms Keating continued: “Staff started doing different roles and we put everybody else on production. We are lucky here in that we have space and could change things around.”

The Echo visited Uniformal on Friday morning, and saw the partition in place to keep the front of the large premsies separated from the back, where the PPE is stored.

Upstairs in the factory, staff create reusable barrier masks and disposable face masks.

Uniformal have also created a new “back to work care-pack” for businesses, and clients can request their own personal company branding on the gear.

The care pack includes Nitrile disposable gloves x 10, anti-bacterial wipes x 15, a hand sanitizer x 1, and a reusable antimicrobial cotton barrier mask x 3.

It also includes an extender for ear loop face / barrier masks, which users can attach at the back of their head.

“We launched that this week and the demand took us by surprise,” said Mr McCabe.

Recently, Uniformal have started to get a trickle of requests back from hotels, but sadly nothing of that nature yet from pubs and restaurants.

“Our focus now is on companies going back to work. That’s why we developed the care packs. It takes the hassle out of it for companies and makes them feel safer,” said Ms Keating.

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