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Local MP and industry officials join opening ceremony of £1.3m wipes installation

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Vernacare were delighted to welcome the arrival of MP for South Ribble Katherine Fletcher and other important invited guests to the official launch for their state-of-the-art wet wipes system at the company’s flagship manufacturing facility and head office in Chorley, Lancashire.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at Matrix Park, Chorley, which marked the official launch for the £1.3m high-tech installation, was followed by a tour of the impressive facility, which supplies a variety of hygiene and surgical products to healthcare institutions around the world.

Following strict quality controls, guests were required to wear protective gowns and head coverings in order to protect the controlled environment and nearby grade 6 clean room.

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"I’m very proud of our ability to attract investment here in South Ribble and Lancashire. It’s great to see Vernacare invest in new machinery to secure jobs in South Ribble.

Katherine Fletcher MP - South Ribble

Katherine Fletcher MP continued – “During the pandemic, Vernacare were essential in producing infection-control products to keep us all safe, so I was very pleased to cut the ribbon on the new wet wipes system that continues to provide these important products.

"When travel restrictions prevented European engineers from travelling to install the high-tech system, Vernacare's Production Manager worked extra hours and long nights to put the new wet wipes machine together himself – what a prime example of our Northern Nous.”

Continued Innovation

The high-speed wet wipes installation was jointly opened by Vernacare CEO James Steele, who commented, "I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved at Vernacare in the past 18 months. In addition to increasing production to supply crucial healthcare supplies across the world, we have also continued to innovate, and have implemented a highly complex installation – all in the midst of a pandemic.  

“With reliable British manufacturing at the heart of meeting demand, Vernacare remains a safe pair of hands for healthcare institutions around the world. We’ll continue to spread the infection prevention message and aid best practice to reduce risk,” he said.

The launch event was also attended by key figures from healthcare and industry, including Made in Britain CEO John Pearce and senior members from NHS Supply Chain.

The new machine significantly increases Vernacare’s wet wipes manufacturing capacity, which range from patient bathing and hand hygiene to surface cleaning and disinfection. The installation is also one of many initiatives that support the company’s push to become more sustainable.

A core area of focus of the new machine is sustainability. Powered largely by solar energy at Chorley, we are continuously looking for ways to minimise environmental impact of the production of our products as well as the ranges themselves. Reducing plastic waste, finding plastic alternatives, and including recycled plastic content where possible, remains high on the agenda."

Elizabeth Jamieson Head of Product Category - Hygiene Solutions

Elizabeth continued – “The new machine can manufacture wipes made from sustainable plant-based materials that are 100% plastic free. It also enables us to produce larger flow-wrap packs with clip lock lids, providing a viable alternative to wipes housed in large heavy plastic containers."

Vernacare has grown significantly in recent years, having acquired Frontier Plastics in July 2020 and Robinson Healthcare in March 2021.

With manufacturing sites around the UK and over 600 employees, the company brings investment and employment to local communities, backed by private investors HIG.

Rachel Downham, Global Category Director commented "We are continuing to invest in our people, innovation and products improvements. As pioneers of sustainable infection prevention, we feel this investment secures the safety of our customers and will extend capacity significantly, improving flexibility to offer an even more bespoke service to our valued customers.”

Event Highlights

Watch our event highlights in the video below:

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