Economy Minister Diane Dodds yesterday visited Bloc Blinds in Magherafelt and Moyola Precision Engineering in Castledawson.
Speaking after the visits the Minister said; “We have long known Northern Ireland is home to excellence in both manufacturing and R&D. This has been further demonstrated since the outbreak of Covid-19.
“The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on not only our own economy but also those across the globe. It has been heartening however to see so many local companies innovating and adapting production to meet the recent challenges. In the case of Bloc Blinds this has meant moving into an entirely new product and repurposing their production lines to make FaceShields. As a result of their ingenuity they have begun supplying PPE to help in the fight against the disease which has enabled them to not only protect employment but also expand. It has been an honour to officially open their new dedicated visor facility here in Magherafelt.”
The Minister added: “Moyola Precision Engineering has a global reputation within the manufacturing industry supplying components to the aerospace and defence sectors. It comes as no surprise they have taken a progressive approach during the Covid-19 pandemic, issuing a monthly update to customers, stakeholders and staff while being at the forefront of introducing safety measures to protect workers at their factory whilst working at full capacity throughout the lockdown to support its customer requirements, particularly in the defence industry.”
Speaking at the new facility, Cormac Diamond, Bloc Blinds Managing Director, said: “At Bloc Blinds we see this new hub as a long-term commitment to a dedicated PPE manufacturing facility. Our aim has always been to support as many frontline carers as possible, and we are now in a position to produce up to four million FaceShields per week. While blinds remain our core business, and we have since reopened our operations in a safe and controlled manner, this new PPE facility will allow us to continue to manufacture FaceShields whilst also creating new jobs for the area in these challenging times.”
Speaking from their premises in Castledawson, Mark Semple, Moyola Precision Engineering CEO, added: “Moyola’s management team have been committed to keeping a high level of productivity both before and since Covid-19. The company has aimed to increase efficiencies and implement ongoing business improvement activities since the global pandemic. Although Covid-19 has massively impacted the civil aerospace sector which forms a large part of our business, we are working through a long-term plan to grow our defence customer base and turnover. We are also currently still investing in the civil aerospace sector, bringing on stream several new export opportunities. We are increasing our R&D activities in order to strengthen our capabilities well into the future.”