Dodds commends innovation and ingenuity of Mid-Ulster companies

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has praised the ingenuity of businesses in the Mid Ulster area in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic during a visit to Bloc Blinds in Magherafelt and Moyola Precision Engineering in Castledawson.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds visited Moyola Precision Engineering in Castledawson to see how the company was managing to maintain its level of productivity and implement ongoing business improvement. Pictured with the Minister is Mark Semple, CEO at Moyola Precision Engineering
Economy Minister Diane Dodds visited Moyola Precision Engineering in Castledawson to see how the company was managing to maintain its level of productivity and implement ongoing business improvement. Pictured with the Minister is Mark Semple, CEO at Moyola Precision Engineering

Speaking after the visits the Minister said that the companies had shown adaptability and imagination during the devastating coronavirus crisis.

“We have long known Northern Ireland is home to excellence in both manufacturing and R&D,” she said.

“ This has been further demonstrated since the outbreak of Covid-19.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds officially opened the new PPE manufacturing facility at Bloc Blinds in Magherafelt. Pictured with the Minister is Cormac Diamond, Managing Director at Bloc Blinds

“The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on not only our own economy but also those across the globe. It has been heartening however to see so many local companies innovating and adapting production to meet the recent challenges.

“In the case of Bloc Blinds this has meant moving into an entirely new product and repurposing their production lines to make FaceShields.

“As a result of their ingenuity they have begun supplying PPE to help in the fight against the disease which has enabled them to not only protect employment but also expand.

“It has been an honour to officially open their new dedicated visor facility here in Magherafelt.”

The Minister also praisd the work of Moyola Precision Engineering.

“Moyola Precision Engineering has a global reputation within the manufacturing industry supplying components to the aerospace and defence sectors.

“It comes as no surprise they have taken a progressive approach during the Covid-19 pandemic, issuing a monthly update to customers, stakeholders and staff while being at the forefront of introducing safety measures to protect workers at their factory whilst working at full capacity throughout the lockdown to support its customer requirements, particularly in the defence industry.”

Speaking at the new facility, Cormac Diamond, Bloc Blinds managing director, said: “At Bloc Blinds we see this new hub as a long-term commitment to a dedicated PPE manufacturing facility.

“Our aim has always been to support as many frontline carers as possible, and we are now in a position to produce up to four million FaceShields per week.

“While blinds remain our core business, and we have since reopened our operations in a safe and controlled manner, this new PPE facility will allow us to continue to manufacture FaceShields whilst also creating new jobs for the area in these challenging times.”

Speaking from its premises in Castledawson, Mark Semple, Moyola Precision Engineering CEO, said: “Moyola’s management team have been committed to keeping a high level of productivity both before and since Covid-19. The company has aimed to increase efficiencies and implement ongoing business improvement activities since the global pandemic.

“Although Covid-19 has massively impacted the civil aerospace sector which forms a large part of our business, we are working through a long-term plan to grow our defence customer base and turnover. We are also currently still investing in the civil aerospace sector, bringing on stream several new export opportunities.

“We are increasing our R&D activities in order to strengthen our capabilities well into the future.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you