Philips Avent’s final swansong before factory closure
PUBLISHED: 08:38 27 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:26 28 May 2020
A Suffolk manufacturing plant due to shut down in July has been providing headbands for facemasks during the coronavirus lockdown as its final swansong after operating for 84 years.
Philips Avent, the baby product making factory in Lower Road, Glemsford, announced its shock move to close last year and is using its final months of production to help with the Covid-19 situation.
The factory is set to cease manufacturing on July 31, affecting 425 jobs but before the closure, the factory has been working to provide headbands for PPE equipment. Within a fortnight, the company had modified an existing tool and created a plastic mould to make headbands for facemasks producing two bands every 20 seconds for free distribution to hospital trusts.
Brian Bowen, tool room manager, said the staff involved had many years’ experience and “were happy to support NHS staff who were doing such a great job”.
Colin Smith has been with the company, originally called Cannon Rubber after first opening in 1936 in Tottenham, since 1970. The business relocated to Suffolk in 1971 and Mr Smith moved with them in 1979.
Mr Smith, engineering stores co-ordinator, is very sad to see the plant close and said: “I have worked for the business since leaving school.
“I’m proud to have been part of such a successful business and to have worked with some very clever engineers and tool makers.”