Manufacturer plays key role in fight against virus

John and Malcolm Hanson

A Rochdale firm is part of the UK-wide drive to manufacture 30,000 emergency ventilators to help the NHS deal the coronavirus crisis.

The equipment is critical in the care of some of the most seriously ill patients but the spread of Covid-19 has triggered a national shortage.

Hanson Springs has been drafted in to supply specialist springs to JRE Precision, which is one of the companies helping to meet the shortfall of ventilators.

The springs are used in the equipment’s control panels which supply oxygen and will be used directly in treating coronavirus patients.

John Hanson, a director in the family-run business, said they offered to supply the springs to JRE Precision for free once they knew what they were being for but were told that wouldn’t be necessary.

He said: “This is a normal product for us but we only know the end use as our client told us. Once we knew the importance of them we rushed the production through.

“We are classed as a critical supplier and we will hopefully be operating throughout the shutdown.

“We have extended our operating times to reduce the number of people on site at any one time, asked people to work from home wherever possible and are muddling through each day like every other business.

“What allows us to react so quickly is that we hold a vast range of wire sizes and grades in stock, so no matter what the spring design is we can normally accommodate it.”

Hanson Springs was founded in 1963 by John’s father Malcolm and supplies springs to the oil, gas, nuclear, power generation and flow control industry.

John Hanson said once the humanitarian crisis caused by Covid-19 has been dealt with he was hopeful the economy would recover.

“China accounts for 10 per cent of our sales and that’s where coronavirus started,” he said. “The result was we had the impact of low order bookings from China and no payment during late January and February. However our Chinese clients are now thankfully all back to normal and payments are being caught up.

“Even in Italy, where we have 20 per cent of our business in and around Milan in the worst affected region of Lombardy, our clients remained open up to last week.

“My sincere hope is that in eight-10 weeks’ time the world will look a lot better than it does right now.”