industry

Brandauer secures face mask supplies with engineering first


Now the Birmingham company’s new Quick Clip Tool is set to take manufacturing from 24 million to 100 million annually thanks to a changeover capability. This allows the clips to be developed in multiple materials such as aluminium, flexible although more expensive, or galvanised steel and produced in various widths, thicknesses and lengths.

The project, aiming for completion later this autumn, will transform supplies to existing customers and open up capacity to other clients.

As covering up becomes a here-to-stay essential and demand rockets, people are obliged from now on to wear masks in shops and supermarkets.

This follows new laws for public transport introduced last month. 

It was £50,000 grant, one of the first to be awarded by the Government through its Innovate UK competition calling on businesses to devise solutions to counter COVID-19 disruption, that has enabled shareholder-owned Brandauer to pursue the ground-breaking development.

Chief executive and engineer Rowan Crozier explains: “Demand is up four fold in the past three months and we knew what was required, but needed the extra capability. Getting the grant first and quickly has been invaluable. The funding is playing an important role supporting prototyping, testing and manufacture.”

Founded in 1862, the company made its indelible mark on British manufacturing by first producing pen nibs.

Renowned as the invisible tour-de-force making the small things that make the bigger ones work, Brandauer’s ingenuity variously helps power 90 percent of the world’s kettles and 50 percent of modern day cars feature its connectors that dim glare into rear view mirrors.

A steady £1million annual investment on the past four years has paid off for the company, that is part of the Midlands makers collective the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), and turnover is forecast to climb to £11million by 2025.

Last year it scooped a Queen’s Award for international trade and the diversity, delivered by sales to 22 countries and in 11 different sectors from automotive and plumbing to electronics and healthcare, has proved a valuable buffer along with new product development during the latest turmoil.

Its focus on a creative and strategic response to the pandemic has also taken it down paths it might never have envisaged, says Crozier, citing a move into direct retail with an eBay shop selling nose clips for people running up their own masks and flat, no-touch keys for using cash machines or pushing open doors.

There are still bumpy times ahead, not least with the added demands from Brexit, but new partnerships and explorations beckon including ones using polycarbonates.

 “It’s time British engineering took more of the limelight,” declares Crozier. “Brandauer has come through world wars, recessions and a great depression, we are resilient to our core.”





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