Vauxhall van factory workers now building ventilators

  • Experienced team of assembly workers to help build ventilators
  • On loan to Smiths Medical from the Vauxhall Vivaro van factory
  • Supplying a proven ventilator to the NHS that’s been in service for 10 years

Vauxhall Vivaro in the Luton van factory grounds

While van production at Vauxhall’s Luton factory is currently on hold, some of its staff are going to be busy over the next few months helping a local firm increase its production of vital ventilators for the NHS.

Is Vauxhall now building ventilators?

Not quite. Rather, the Luton site of Smiths Medical has been tasked with significantly increasing production of the Smiths Group paraPAC plus ventilator to help the NHS keep on top of the coronavirus pandemic.

This mechanical breathing device is a proven, approved design, and has been in use in within the NHS for over 10 years.

So how is Vauxhall helping?

To help Smith Medical speed up its production, Vauxhall is providing 22 staff from the Luton van factory, where the latest Vivaro is built.

This is a team of 20 assemblers, one team leader and one supervisor, ‘chosen due to their specialist skills and ability to carry out intricate production work to a very high standard.’

The team will operate on a three shift basis, just like they do at the Vivaro factory, over a standard 40 hour week – but completing overtime where required to meet demand.

Strict protocols are said to be in place to keep the entire staff safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Everything the team produces will be quality tested to a stringent pass/fail regime to ensure the highest possible standards. The secondment will last until 31 July 2020.

This sounds like very positive news

Indeed.

Managing Director of Vauxhall Motors, Stephen Norman, praised the effort, saying: ‘I’m immensely proud that Vauxhall workers have been able to make such a valuable contribution during these difficult times.

'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.'

He added: ‘Vauxhall will continue to work with the British government to support other similar initiatives.’

Strategy and M&A Director Julian Fagge of Smiths Group also commented: ‘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.’

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