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A true war effort: Selden converts facility to maximise on production of anti-viral portfolio
When the sheer scale of the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic became clear, companies in this industry were faced with a choice: ‘keep calm and carry on’ or join what has often been dubbed ‘the war effort’.
Buxton, Derbyshire-based Selden took the decision to do everything it could to manufacture the maximum amount of product that would make a real difference.
"There was a choice: keep our heads down and carry on with the business as usual, or focus on doing the most we possibly could do to, to be part of the solution in this crisis,” reveals commercial director Mark Woodhead.
“A consequence of this strategy has caused supply and service problems into our regular customer base, and for this I apologise… in time we will return to normal.
“But in this time of crisis we must all pull together to save as many lives as possible. This is our focus; this is what we are trying to do."
Having such a large laboratory and technical department has allowed Selden to redesign the way Ethanol is blended with various thickening agents and moisturisers in volume.
"We have successfully scaled up to produce 15,000-litres of finished product per hour, converting a full road tanker into finished product ready for filling in less than three hours,” says Mark. “The week before last we did this seven times, producing just less than 300,000 litres; this week we’re on schedule to meet our goal of processing nine tankers equating to around 380,000 litres of finished product.
“This sounds like a lot of product, and so it is, equating to around about 250 million sanitising doses per week, but no matter how much we produce the market absorbs it instantly."
Also, each week since early March, Selden has produced and shipped a minimum of:
• 120,0000-litres of sanitiser hand soap
• 300,000-litres of viricidal hard surface cleaners
"The scale of the problem is well documented in the media, and in truth we have been overwhelmed by the sheer size of the demand,” adds Mark. “We continue to produce the ‘regular’ products as well - albeit in lower volumes than normal, though this effort is being compromised by shortages in the supply chain."
Mark tells us that packaging is in short supply; that trigger heads and soap pumps are extremely difficult to obtain and that numerous raw materials are now in short supply -especially those critical to the clean-up and eradication of the virus. He says that Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats), which are used in almost all of the anti-viral hard surface cleaners, are becoming a very serious problem to obtain.
30th April 2020