Rugby manufacturer makes shortlist in national competition

Photo shows: Autin's Shift Operator’s Michal Baran and Gabriela Jakalova holding some of Autins’ face masks.
Autins Shift Operators Michal Baran and Gabriela Jakalova

A Warwickshire automotive supplier has been nominated for a regional award in a national manufacturing competition.

Autins, the Rugby-based specialist in engineering and advanced manufacturing has been shortlisted in the Manufacturing Matters category as part of the annual Make UK Manufacturing Awards.

Make UK is an industry body that champions engineering and manufacturing, and the award recognises a company that demonstrates exceptional adaptability and resilience to not only impact its own business but also to improve lives and society.

This year the Manufacturing Matters Award has been specifically focused on organisations whose adaptability and resilience has allowed them to continue operations and respond to the unprecedented challenges faced globally as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The crisis prompted a diversification into the PPE sector for Autins which has seen it transformed its business to support the fight against Covid-19 and produce nearly 200,000 face masks and parts for visors since April.

Faced with a factory shut down at the end of March, Autins turned adversity into triumph, re-purposing its own patented Neptune material – usually used for automotive insulation or thermal protection – to create water-repellent, washable face masks.

With most of its UK workforce on furlough, in less than four weeks a small team at Autins designed, developed and launched a very technical product into a market about which it previously knew nothing about. This is a process that would have normally taken anything from three months to more than three years.

CEO of Autins, Gareth Kaminski-Cook said: “Coronavirus has had a dramatic impact on the auto sector, but our response has been to look for opportunities, pursuing self-help measures to survive as a company and use our expertise to help the UK by supplying safety face masks.

“Luckily, we understand materials and have the right manufacturing capabilities, tenacity and innovative culture to develop solutions quickly – this is part of our DNA. We have supplied hospices, care homes, manufacturing companies as well as to the public.  This is the right thing to be doing.”

“Whilst it is good to see our core automotive market has begun to return, we took the opportunity during this period to adapt and play our part to make a difference in the fight against Covid-19, whilst protecting the company, our employees and our shareholders.

“We are delighted the be short-listed for this award and proud to have successfully applied our material, design and manufacturing skills to deliver much-needed safety products.”

The online regional awards ceremony for the Midlands and the East will be held on Thursday 8 October and winners will go forward to the national competition to be announced later in the year.