A polyester manufacturer has helped make more than 50 million face shields in an effort to protect front line workers during the pandemic.

DuPont Teijin Films (DTF) produces polyester films and coatings from its factory on Teesside and during the coronavirus pandemic it has been providing supplies to community groups and those making face shields to protect hospital and care home staff across Tees Valley.

During the pandemic DTF’s 80 workers – based at the Global Innovation Centre at The Wilton Centre near Redcar – expanded the company’s range of optically clear films that can be used in visors and masks. Within a week the new products were put into production at its manufacturing sites in Scotland and Luxembourg.

The quick turnaround of the new plastics allowed manufacturers to meet the unprecedented demand for face shields. So far DTF has provided companies with more than 50 million protective items.

Dave Wall, the global technology director at DTF, said: “We have been proud to play our part in responding rapidly to the challenges of the pandemic which is a credit to the dedication and commitment of our teams in Wilton, Dumfries and Luxembourg.”

As well as continuing to produce its clear films the company is also involved in a research project at the University of Birmingham to develop products that will help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Part of this research involves studying why Covid-19 survives for longer on smooth surfaces than on items such as newspaper. The research will look at how these surface properties can be used in new PPE products.

The Wilton Centre forms part of a national network of science parks, known as the Knowledge Factory. More than 60 companies employing more than 750 people are based at the centre.

DTF is one of a number of businesses that has engaged in Covid-related work.

Absolute Antibody has been working with some of the world’s leading pharmaceutical firms developing treatments, while vaccine developers have shown an interest in the large-scale production capability provided by Micropore Technologies.

Claire Morton, the accommodation manager at The Wilton Centre, said: “We are so proud of the work of all of these businesses. The pandemic has highlighted how important scientists are to society. They are the people who will make sure we get out of this. I hope they get the recognition they deserve.