Dräger opens new multi-million pound UK PPE factory in the North East

Gateshead – Draeger Safety UK Ltd, part of The Dräger Group, an international leader in the fields of medical and safety technology, has today officially opened a new production facility at Follingsby Park, Gateshead, expanding its ongoing commitment to the North East of England. The new site, which will produce FFP3 face masks to fulfil a Government contract to supply UK manufactured PPE for front-line workers, is Dräger’s second site in the region. The company’s other site, located at Blyth in Northumberland, manufacturers a wide range of safety equipment.

In compliance with the lockdown regulations, the new site was opened virtually by Councillor Michael Hood, the Mayor of Gateshead and attended online by Rainer Klug, Dräger  executive board member for safety division and other members of the Dräger Safety UK team.

Malcolm Irving, Head of Global Supply Chain Safety Division at Dräger commented on the new site, “We’re very pleased to locate the new manufacturing facility in Gateshead. Dräger UK has had a footprint in the North East for nearly 60 years and this investment reaffirms our commitment to the region.

“The new site will establish a sustainable UK-production base to manufacture certifed FFP masks and provide a long-term solution for the supply of high protection masks for our NHS workforce and other front-line workers.”

Dräger worked closely with local representatives, including, the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC), to secure the order, and with Gateshead Council to acquire the new site.

Dr Stephen Lynn, Business Manager, AHSN NENC, said,

“The new Dräger facility is a fantastic asset for the region which is bringing much-needed investment and jobs into the North East. “During the pandemic it’s been incredible to see so many businesses adapt and diversify to meet the demand for PPE within the health and social care sector. After supporting Dräger in the early stages of its proposal to the(?) Government, we are delighted to see that work come to fruition and that the people and the economy in the region will benefit as a result of the new production facility.”

Councillor Malcolm Brain, cabinet member for the economy at Gateshead Council supported these sentiments and said, “At a time of ongoing pressures on the local economy, it is very encouraging indeed to hear that Dräger UK is expanding and that 40 skilled and high value-added jobs will be created. This is excellent news for Gateshead and the wider community.

“Located in the heart of the North East of England, Follingsby is ideally positioned to access local, national and international markets. Situated between Sunderland, Newcastle and Durham the area provides excellent connectivity via the A1(M), A19 and Tyne Tunnel. It continues to be an attractive option for expanding businesses.

“Our Business Gateshead team looks forward to supporting Dräger further with its expansion.”

The new jobs created have included production supervisors, machine and warehouse operators, and also positions in quality control and maintenance. In addition, Dräger has worked with local contractors wherever possible. These include Washington-based Kennedy Services and Air Compressors and Blowers North and Newcastle-based Surgo Construction each of which delivered building and fit-out services. Lambert Smith Hampton, again located in Newcastle, provided estate agent service, and Ward Hadaway fast tracked the conveyancing to ensure that production started promptly.

Dräger Safety UK employs 517 members of staff in its Blyth and Gateshead facilities. In addition to FFP masks, the company has a wide range of medical and safety equipment to protect, support and help save lives whilst securing the welfare of professionals on a daily basis. Dräger’s products ranges from hospital ventilators and breathing apparatus to gas detectors.