Gwalia Healthcare were fortunate to feature in Barclays Corporate Banking Client Stories whereby our Managing Director, Rod Parker, discusses the company's challenges and successes over the last eighteen months.
Gwalia Healthcare's Managing Director Rod Parker talks about pivoting in the face of adversity, making the plastics industry more ethical and capitalising on the power of LinkedIn.
Business in brief
Founded in 1968 by Dennis Parker, Gwalia Healthcare is a pharmaceutical packaging business, medical device manufacturer and, more recently, contamination control and sanitising specialist. Based in Treforest, Wales, its customers include many well-known UK brands across a variety of sectors including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, retail, entertainment and professional services.
Family-owned Gwalia Healthcare, formerly Dragon Plastics, started life as a custom-moulder of plastic injection mouldings and assemblies. But the company's product lines has radically transformed over the years, from designing child-resistant pharmaceutical solutions and developing improved packaging solutions for the vitabiotics sector, to manufacturing and developing innovative, intelligent medical devices.
The business has a strong history of quickly adapting to changes in government regulations, identifying market needs and developing cost-efficient solutions for its customers. Third generation Rod Parker, the current managing director, is proud of his family's achievements: 'We look at what else is out there, and then we see if we can make it better, faster and cheaper than everyone else'.
Gwalia has also focused on finding the right people to drive the business forward and invested heavily in efficient manufacturing processes and specialist equipment.
Weathering the storms
Disaster struck the business in February 2020, when Gwalia found itself at the epicentre of Storm Dennis. 'Our entire factory was flooded. Everything was gone, all our equipment unusable' Parker explains. The team immediately set to work cleaning and repairing what they could, only to be faced with another disaster six weeks later in the shape of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At that point, with only a few machines in working condition, Parker's advisers suggested he close the business and furlough staff. 'But closing wasn't an option. I said I'd find a way to keep going'.
And he did: 'Within 24 hours, I'd received enquiries for over 120 million empty sanitiser bottles. But I thought 'why supply only the empty bottle, and not the finished product?''. Using his extensive network of contacts, along with a large dose of his trademark ingenuity and determination, Parker quickly sourced certified alcohol gel, a filling machine and a labelling machine - And Gwalia began to bottle and supply its own sanitising gel.
Working 24/7 - and with further investment in raw materials, machinery and people - Gwalia was soon able to use its fully integrated manufacturing and filling solution to fulfil significant contracts for various customers , including Arco, local councils and NHS England.
'The demand for new product lines from these customers saw us turn around design, tooling and production in as little as 13 days' Parker says, 'I don't know how the team did it, but they did'.
The power of social media
Parker attributes some of Gwalia's success during the pandemic to LinkedIn, which has enabled the company to create a strong online profile and connect with a lot of new people: 'I'd never used it before, but it's an amazing tool. It provided lots of enquiries and recommendations that we were able to capitalise on'.
Pivoting through the pandemic
While many businesses may have been content with supplying sanitiser gel, it wasn't long before Parker was thinking about what to do next: 'We needed to get people back to work, using public transport and enjoying themselves. We needed to get industry working again'.
Realising that decontaminating large public areas would be key to achieving this, Parker partnered with two local scientists who had developed and certified an alcohol-free anti-microbial biocide product - Hybrisan - that offers quick-acting, long-lasting bacterial protection for treated surfaces. He also researched different ways in which to apply the product most effectively, including trigger sprays and airless sprayers. Gwalia is now the UK distributor for Graco Sanispray decontamination sprayers.
'Together with our partners, we offer a complete service, including disinfecting and sanitising solutions, infection control consultation and contamination control training'.
An ethical approach
Parker feels strongly about reducing the company's environmental impact. 'Fortuitously, the flood provided us with an opportunity to invest in more efficient machinery that consumes considerably less energy. We're now meeting increased demand, while still reducing our carbon footprint'.
Given the company's heavy reliance on plastic, Parker and the team are working hard to make the packaging and products they supply more ethical. He has recently convinced three major brand owners, including a large retail chain, to use 50% recycled materials for their packaging and hopes many more will follow suit.
Gwalia also tries to use 'hyper-local' suppliers and do as much in-house as possible. This approach helps build resilience within the local economy, as well as having environmental benefits. 'By manufacturing the packaging, filling it and shipping the products directly to the customer, we're reducing the significant transport requirements and, in turn, the carbon footprint'.
Parker believes the future will provide many opportunities for Gwalia's new sanitisation and decontamination division, particularly within the entertainment and events sectors.
While the company has experienced rapid growth and significantly increased its workforce since the start of the pandemic, Parker still plans to expand capacity across other parts of the business. 'A lot of our recent success has come from our existing vitabiotics and pharmaceutical sector. Everyone is now taking vitamins to build their resilience and combat Covid-19, and they'll continue to do so long into the future'.
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Gwalia Healthcare has broadened their standard range of nutraceutical packaging with the addition of a 130ml square pack, the first of its kind to be added to their ever-expanding range.
Developed onsite by Gwalia’s in-house design department, the whole project including tool build and trials have been completed onsite by their highly-skilled workforce. Their ability to offer a ’start-to-finish’ approach significantly reduces lead times and allows for projects to be easily tracked.
With production underway, the injection blow moulded bottle is currently being produced in virgin HDPE with further trials commencing to explore the possibility of integrating recycled material into the process.
Working alongside their customers, Gwalia will be able to offer the vitamin pack with a variety of coloured caps to easily distinguish between brands and product lines on the retailer’s shelves.
Gwalia Healthcare have taken receipt of an order for Hybrisan hand sanitiser in bottles made using 50% recycled HDPE content, the order from a public sector organisation, aim to procure as much as possible from within Wales are keen to support the model of sustainable manufacturing.
The integration of recycled polymer is the next step in Gwalia’s quest to becoming a more sustainable manufacturing facility. Working alongside British waste management companies on the supply of commercially available food-grade rHDPE, Gwalia are pushing forward with sustainable and energy efficient options that surpass the Government’s incentive of the Plastic Packaging Tax due for implementation in April 2022. The tax seeks those manufacturing plastic packaging to produce with a minimum of 30% recycled content in order to help promote recycling and minimise the amount of plastic going into landfill or incineration.
Production trials over recent weeks have seen Gwalia test a number of different compositions in both their injection blow moulding and extrusion blow moulding departments with very promising results.
The use of recycled HDPE is something that all of Gwalia’s nutraceutical customers are expected to take advantage of, particularly with the NHS setting out their Net Zero Policy. Gwalia are confident that their customers will be able to support the NHS’ goals with the support of their manufacturing incentive.
Gwalia also anticipates the move to recycled material amongst their industrial & automotive clientele as both industries strive to develop sustainable initiatives before 2030.
In addition to manufacturing caps and child resistant closures, Gwalia also hold stock of five different types of liquid dispensing mechanisms suitable for sanitiser and a range of other liquids.
The delivery mechanisms include foaming and lotion pumps, trigger sprays and flip tops, with various neck finishes including 20/410, 28/410 and 38/410.
The components available compliment Gwalia’s wide range of blow moulded bottles that are produced onsite and are also available to purchase.
The dispensing options are available in full box quantities at competitive prices, enquiries should be directed to email@example.com.
Following a Covid outbreak amongst The Scarlets First Team, the Operations Team at Parc Y Scarlets sought assistance from Gwalia Healthcare in decontaminating their sporting facilities prior to the Wales v England Autumn Nations Cup match.
Commenting on the service provided, David Healy, the Stadium Manager said;
'We chose Gwalia Healthcare and Hybrisan because of their rapid response team and their advanced surface sanitiser which is non-hazardous, highly effective and offers ongoing protection against COVID-19'.
In addition to the team of Decontamination Specialists, Gwalia and Hybrisan were also able to provide scientific support. Time was spent noting down a number of sample points and undertaking swab analysis to ensure maximum efficacy both on and off the pitch. Hybrisan's advanced surface sanitiser was delivered using the Graco Sanispray HP range of airless sprayers, all areas of the stadium were decontaminated as well as the indoor training facilities, with particular emphasis on all the high throughput operational areas.
'Working within the events sector has a lot of pressure and you need people you can rely on to come in and do a job to the highest of standards. I would highly recommend using Gwalia Healthcare and Hybrisan'.
Gwalia Healthcare's Decontamination Team have continued to support David and the whole team at Parc Y Scarlets prior to sporting events held at the stadium.
Med-Tech & Medical manufacturing organisations in Wales have had their fair share of challenges during the recent economic downturn, with perhaps the biggest challenges in supply issues for essential polymers and medical grade plastics in packaging, and not to mention how many organisations have had to quickly adapt to the new trading relationships with the wider world.
Now that many businesses in this sector are now becoming more comfortable with the changes, the primary focus has now returned to how the Med-Tech sector needs to significantly reduce its carbon footprint, as it has been reported that the industry has seen a slight return in the use of excessive volumes of plastic to compensate for the recent supply issues.
To acquire more insight into this, Business News Wales spoke with Rod Parker, the CEO and third generation family owner of Gwalia Healthcare, which has been operating since 1968 at the Treforest Industrial Estate, south-east of Pontypridd in South Wales. Gwalia Healthcare specialises in manufacturing wearable medical devices, along with pharmaceutical and medical packaging and, more recently, sanitisation and decontamination products in response to heightened demands during the pandemic.
Mr Parker told us;
“Environmental impact is high on Gwalia’s agenda. Over the last 18 months we have heavily invested into our manufacturing plants to reduce our carbon footprint, with regards to all our electric machines [by] exiting hydraulic machines out of the business, along with looking at how we [can] manufacture with more of a clever mind; and in doing so, looking at how we reduce the amount of polymer in [our] packaging, and also how we integrate recycling the polymer back into the [packaging]”.”
He then told us of some exciting further developments that Gwalia are taking to increase sustainability:
“We recently signed a contract which will allow us to convert all our high-density polyethylene vitamin and healthcare packs into 100% recycled polymer, which is a massive step forward [for us]”.
“The team (Gwalia) are investigating bio-polymers and other means of manufacturing packaging from reusable sources, along with our contract packing and [the] manufacturing [of our] packaging allows us to take massive transport [loads] and carbon footprint out of the end-product”.
Mr Parker also spoke of some of the challenges that Gwalia faced in the past 18 months, how they overcame them, about he thinks that the UK's "buoyant" Med-Tech sector should be used to Wales' advantage four sourcing supply chains in order to help Wales become a potential market leader for sustainability & innovation.
You can hear the full audio interview by clicking here.
Originally published online by Business News Wales, 25th May 2021.
Last autumn we talked to Rod Parker and Kate Owen at Gwalia Healthcare about the tremendous work being undertaken by the Treforest-based business to deal with the pandemic whilst recovering from a major flood just prior – from stepping in to fulfil sanitisation and contamination control needs across all sectors of the economy, to taking new concepts to commercialisation in medical device manufacturing.
Five months on, we caught up with Rod and Kate to see how the company has developed through a winter that’s posed further challenges to many businesses across Wales and the UK …
“We’ve grown our workforce by over 40% and are planning further infrastructure developments to expand capacity in all divisions of the business”
“It’s been a time of continued investment for us, from developing our products to expanding our team and strengthening our infrastructure, as we manage increased demand from our traditional and new customers in both the UK, US and other export markets” enthuses Kate. “The demand for pharmaceutical and automotive packaging remains central to our business – and this increased vastly, so we’ve scaled up our workforce by over 40% and we’re now a 77-strong team. That growth has also seen us look to increase our warehousing capacity by another 400 pallet spaces – so we really have stepped up to another level.
“We’ve invested continually in our products and services”
“Product-wise, we’re very excited to be partnering with Hybrisan and their advanced sanitiser, as it’s alcohol-free and provides ongoing pathogenic protection to treat both surfaces and hands. We’re also now a key UK distributor for Graco SaniSpray HP disinfectant sprayers, which is an incredibly efficient and consistent airless spraying solution to handle any disinfecting and sanitising job. We’re able to offer Hybrisan in both the manufacturer packaging or bespoke, so it can become part of a complete contamination control solution – something that’s a big part of the Gwalia philosophy which can be encapsulated in the Hybrisphere for total protection against the pandemic as the economy prepares to come out of lockdown”.
The growth included diversifying into new services, with the addition of a Decontamination Team that provides 24/7 certified sanitising application to high-profile contracts including the elite sports sector such as Parc-y-Scarlets.
“Increased demand for medical device manufacturing and automation has seen the arrival of 11 new machines and the expansion of the cleanroom facility”
“Our growth and drive for continual improvement has seen us invest heavily in new machinery and cleanroom capability – with 11 new machines arriving here at Treforest. This includes new top of the range Fanuc injection moulding lines to cope with the surging demand for the Geko, a wearable electrostimulation device. In addition, new injection blow moulding and extrusion blow moulding machines are arriving weekly.
These machines are electric rather than hydraulic, making them much more efficient, radically reducing energy consumption. A single electric injection moulding machine, for example, uses 1.4kW of energy every hour, less than half the energy needed to boil a household kettle once! This investment has been vital in enabling us to meet increased demand across all divisions of the business – but it’s also good to know that they’re reducing our carbon footprint too.
“We’ve invested in our Flood Defences, using a Welsh-based expert in the field.”
“As a result of the last year’s flooding, we recognised a need to protect the business by investing in Flood Defences across our facility. These were constructed last autumn by Swansea-based Lakeside Flood Solutions Ltd. and means that all the access points are now protected through a state-of-the-art panel system, as well as two submersible pump systems. It’s given everyone in our team even more confidence for the future – and allows us to focus on delivering to our customers, developing our product offerings and growing our market presence further.”
Rod added; Very few SME’s will have made such progress in the face of massive challenge in just 12 months. All divisions of the business are seeing significant growth as we continue to invest in new capacity, personnel and the facility. In turn this will increase jobs and local supply chains with the hope of bringing health and well-being to our community.”
We look forward to seeing what the next 6 months will bring but things we can be confident of are that; Gwalia will continue to go from strength to strength, and that Rod and his team will do that in a way that’s good for the company, good for the community and good for the environment.
Originally published online by Business News Wales CARDIFF CAPITAL REGION , 17th February 2021.
Rod Parker, MD of medical and pharmaceutical products manufacturer Gwalia Healthcare, is a strong believer in buying local. He extends his doctrine of supporting local supply chains into every aspect of the privately owned Treforest business.
Gwalia is the largest independent manufacturer of child proof bottle tops in the UK, but there’s a lot more to the business than that. In recent years it has diversified into making a wide range of pharmaceutical packaging, as well as medical devices. And since the start of the Covid pandemic it has also been making and filling hand sanitiser bottles and decontamination products.
The benefits of buying local
One of Gwalia’s latest ventures is the development of a non-alcohol hand gel, using a technology developed by a Port Talbot-based company, Hybrisan. It’s typical of Gwalia that it should have found another South Wales business with which to partner.
Rod Parker explains his philosophy of always buying as locally as possible:
Rod thinks that large firms should be given incentives to buy from smaller supply chain businesses in their local area. For him personally, it seems the knowledge he’s putting something into his local community is encouragement enough.
All businesses of course have to make commercial decisions about their suppliers. For Rod Parker and his team at Gwalia Healthcare, it seems, commercial decisions go hand in hand with other considerations in a way that’s good for the company, good for the community and good for the environment.
Originally published online by Business News Wales CARDIFF CAPITAL REGION , 2nd November 2020.
2020 has been a challenging year for most businesses. For Gwalia Healthcare, it’s been doubly so. There’s been Covid-19, of course. But just weeks before the lockdown, the Valleys firm was struck by a devastating flood as a result of Storm Dennis.
In overcoming these challenges and emerging stronger and more resilient, the team at Gwalia have shown creativity, adaptability and a tenacious spirit. This is the story of how they achieved it.
It was on February 13 that the floodwaters unleashed by Storm Dennis rushed through Gwalia’s Treforest factory. At the time the company had just reached an important stage in its development, having had customers invested in new automated machinery to deliver Geko and Firefly, sophisticated medical devices designed to prevent deep vein thrombosis and treat sports injuries.
The devices would take the company, which had previously focused on making child proof tops for medicine bottles and tamper resistant pharmaceutical and nutritional packaging, into a new market. But on February 13 all that was put in jeopardy.
“All our equipment that we’d taken three generations to build up and develop, all our tooling, the new automated kit for Geko and Firefly, all that was totally wiped out,” said MD Rod Parker, grandson of one of the company’s founders.
It took four hours for the bulk of the floodwater to drain out of the factory halls unassisted, and several more hours to sweep the rest out. Then came initially two weeks followed by a further 4 weeks of lifting, cleaning and repairing the machinery to get it into a fit state. In the meantime, hand assembly units were used to ensure customers experienced no break in supplies.
Covid-19 and a new direction
After six weeks production at Gwalia was back in full swing and the company was ordering new machinery. Then along came Covid-19. It could have sent Gwalia back to the drawing board again. Instead, it brought fresh opportunity. This time the company was inundated, not with the muddy waters of the Taff, but with orders for empty bottles and bottle tops for hand sanitisers – 120 million in 24 hours.
Starting off with a borrowed machine, Rod put three of his staff to work filling sanitiser bottles, 5,000 a shift initially. Within two weeks he had acquired a filling machine and a labelling machine from Amarda Industries a south wales based business, allowing him to increase volume.
Gwalia designed and developed a new 100ml squeezable bottle. The team went from three to 10, then went onto two shifts. Contracts came from Arco, the largest supplier of sanitiser gel to the NHS and local authorities, and from NHS England. New product lines were developed, including 1-litre bottles with pumps for the NHS.
On the back of these contracts Gwalia invested in a second, fully automated line and developed a full range of bottles, from 50ml all the way up to 5 litres. The one line can produce 30,000 filled 1-litre bottles a day the other 150,000 of the smaller ones. Those numbers could be rapidly doubled with a very small investment, says Rod.
Far from having to furlough staff as so many businesses have, Gwalia took on an extra 26 during the worst of the pandemic, and still employs 26 more than before the lockdown on March. It’s testimony to the new market position Gwalia has carved out for itself as a result of its hard work and adaptability.
“We’re competitive, which is why we continued to have strong sales after the market for alcohol gel started to drop off in the summer,” Rod said.
While the alcohol-based gels met an urgent need, Rod quickly realised they weren’t the answer for everyone. Gwalia has been working with a Port Talbot-based company called Hybrisan on a range of non-alcohol anti-microbial and biocidal products which Rod describes as “95% water and 5% clever technology.”
The fully tested and certified products have a proven quick-kill rate and residual kill, and are not harmful to the skin. They will be going through clinical trials to validate any clinical claims put towards them.
As well as gels, Gwalia has also developed a range of decontamination products such as sprays with Hybrisan, which are being used by companies such as Stagecoach.
2020 has been a testing year for Gwalia, as it has for most of us. As a company it has risen to the challenge, which is a tribute to the hard work of its largely local workforce and the creativity of its management.
Without that flexibility and talent for improvisation they have shown, Gwalia might have been sunk by Storm Dennis or failed to meet the demands placed on it by the Covid crisis. Instead it has triumphed, and is poised to continue serving its community even better than it did before.
Originally published online by Business News Wales CARDIFF CAPITAL REGION , 26th October 2020.
If you have medicine bottles in your kitchen or bathroom cabinet, there’s a good chance they have child proof tops made by a South Wales company.
Treforest-based Gwalia Healthcare makes around 20% of the child proof bottle tops in the UK. That, in itself, would be a substantial undertaking. But Gwalia also makes a wide variety of other lifesaving products, from hand sanitiser bottles and decontamination sprays to sophisticated medical devices. It’s a story of diversification in adversity that can provide inspiration to other businesses in these difficult times.
Gwalia Healthcare, based in Treforest, was founded in 1968 and was originally called Dragon Plastics. It is a 100% privately owned company, still controlled by the family of one of the founders, Dennis Parker.
The present MD, Rod Parker, is the third generation of Parkers to run the company. Rod’s grandfather and his co-founders set up Dragon Plastics as a custom moulder of plastic injection mouldings and assemblies. Its first customer was the global scientific supplies company Thermo Fisher, then called Motil and still with the firm 52 years later.
Rod’s father Ian joined the company in 1982, around the time Dragon designed what was to become probably its most important product, child resistant tops for medicine bottles. Ian Parker designed pictorial rather than written instructions on the bottle tops. Raised in London’s South End, he appreciated that not all users would be able to read instructions in English.
The company remains the only independent manufacturer of child proof bottle tops in the UK, but in 1996 it received a body blow. The government decided that solid dose no longer needed to be supplied in bottles with child resistant tops; they could be sold in blister packs instead.
Overnight, Dragon Plastics lost 50% of its business. It was a difficult time for Rod, aged 21, to join the family firm. “I joined the company when it was at an all-time low,” he said.
In order to gain all-round knowledge of the business, Rod worked in various parts of the firm, spending time and gaining experience in logistics, quality control and sales. After 3 years of business development he was made sales director after winning some sizeable sales contracts.
In 2006 his father was taken ill and Rod, aged just 26, took over as MD. With its core business under pressure, it was time for Gwalia to diversify. “I quickly realised we needed to be selling something more than just bottle tops,” he said.
In 2007 a bottle manufacturer called Riverside Plastics went into administration, having lost most of its business supplying complimentary toiletry bottles to the hotel sector in the fall-out after 9/11. At the time Dragon was making 350 million bottle tops a year. By acquiring Riverside, Gwalia could add bottle making to its repertoire and expand into a wider range of medical, pharmaceutical and nutritional packaging.
Within three months of buying Riverside Gwalia had a contract with Sainsbury’s designing a child resistant, tamper evident range of vitamin packs. The Sainsbury’s contract was followed by ones with Superdrug and Tesco, until within 10 years the company had captured 72% of the UK vitabiotic packaging market.
Gwalia also bought a toolmaking business and now manufactures all its own injection moulding and extrusion blow moulding tools to its own in-house design, saving money and lead times on tooling.
The move into medical devices
The next stage in the company’s evolution came one day in 2015 when Rod was in hospital. Looking at some of the medical devices around him, he got to thinking about how the Gwalia could get into the sector. He spent six months studying other companies in the sector, and decided Gwalia was going to take a different approach.
“The idea was to build a site in Treforest which behind the walls was state of the art, with clean rooms, all the facilities, all the engineering and electrical, all the circuit board knowledge, but not have a big fancy half million sq ft building with a lot of directors pulling £200,000,” he said.
The company’s first medical equipment contract was with Sky Medical Technology, for a pair of devices called geko and firefly. They’re wristwatch-sized devices that are worn at the knee and stimulate the peroneal nerve to increase blood flow in the lower leg, to prevent deep vein thrombosis and reduce swelling after sports injuries. It works by sending an electronic pulse to simulate your body walking and two thirds walking pace.
By the beginning of 2020 Gwalia Healthcare had established itself as a company making a wide range of products, from child proof bottle tops and pharmaceutical packaging to medical devices such as geko and firefly. The company had ridden out one threat to its business from the change in policy on medical packaging, by diversifying its product range and seeking new markets.
It was a lesson well learnt, because in 2020 Gwalia would face further shocks to its business from events outside its control. What happened next was to test all the resourcefulness and creativity the company could muster.
Originally published online by Business News Wales CARDIFF CAPITAL REGION , 19th October 2020.
Treforest-based business Gwalia Healthcare has kindly donated 5,600 bottles of hand sanitiser for RCT Council to distribute to more than 60 voluntary-run organisations across Rhondda Cynon Taf.
The Treforest Industrial Estate company specialises in manufacturing medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging, but began producing hand sanitiser in response to the initial lockdown period of the Coronavirus pandemic in March 2020. Using existing resources to make the bottles and sourcing the gel and alcohol from a 10-mile radius, Gwalia produced an initial supply of 20,000 bottles for frontline staff, at a time when there was a significant shortage.
This came a matter of weeks after the company’s manufacturing operation was brought to a standstill overnight, due to severe flooding in Storm Dennis. However, Gwalia has now increased its full time employment by 50% since the start of the pandemic, and continues to manufacture a full range of alcohol-based and non-alcohol sanitising products.
Meanwhile, voluntary-run organisations across the County Borough have recently been putting measures in place to enable them to safely reopen, in strict adherence to the latest guidance for social distancing and hand hygiene.
In order to help these groups, Gwalia’s owner and director Rod Parker approached the Council with an offer for the company to donate 5,600 bottles of hand sanitiser. The Council then collated a list of some organisations within Rhondda Cynon Taf communities which might benefit from the donation.
In September 2020, Gwalia’s donation of 200 boxes of 28 bottles (100ml) was received by the Council – and more than 60 organisations were invited to collect two boxes each. The Council has delivered the donations to those unable to collect them, while a small number of the organisations are yet to reopen. Their boxes are being kept by the Council until they can collect them. Two boxes have also been sent to each of the Council-run Leisure Centres, which are distributing them among the groups and clubs using their facilities.
Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Housing, said: “This year has presented an incredibly-difficult challenge for organisations like businesses and voluntary groups, who have had to deal with the terrible flooding in Storm Dennis and the Coronavirus pandemic which has changed huge aspects of our society.
Original article written by RHYS GREGORY for Wales247.co.uk, September 30, 2020
A Treforest business has bounced back from flood devastation by making locally-sourced hand sanitiser and distributing it across the UK – having produced an emergency supply of 20,000 bottles for local frontline staff.
The operation has also resulted in 13 new jobs created thanks to the company’s significant investment in its production line, and has a very small carbon footprint as the entire manufacturing process is completed on site.
Gwalia Healthcare, based at Treforest Industrial Estate, specialises in the manufacture of medical devices and pharmaceutical packaging. It was one of hundreds of businesses severely affected by Storm Dennis just 11 weeks ago – when its manufacturing operation was brought to a halt overnight.
Having re-established or replaced 30% of its manufacturing capability in the six weeks after the floods, Gwalia was able to satisfy 85% of its orders by converting to a 24/7 production operation – prioritising its healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical customers who rely upon it. The Coronavirus outbreak then brought a second unprecedented emergency in quick succession.
Rod Parker, owner and director of Gwalia Healthcare, said: “It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, having re-established the business after the flooding. We weren’t making hand sanitiser or gel before COVID-19, but we thought as a large number of our industrial customers wouldn’t need their orders from us, why not focus on producing hand sanitiser ourselves?
Article originally posted to their website by Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council on 30th April 2020.
Thanks to funding and support from the Council’s Enterprise Investment Fund, a Treforest business has been able to secure an exciting partnership to develop a range of healthcare products locally – creating 18 high-quality jobs.
Gwalia Healthcare, based at Treforest Industrial Estate, is developing the geko™ product range owned by Firstkind Ltd. A geko™ device is worn like a wristwatch below the knee, helping to prevent and treat a range of acute medical conditions. Several of its components are produced locally, taking advantage of Gwalia Healthcare’s manufacturing expertise, assembly line and capacity to facilitate ongoing research and development activities in Treforest.
On Wednesday, February 5, Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Enterprise, visited Gwalia Healthcare’s operations base, located at Treforest Industrial Estate.
He met Rod Parker, the owner and director of Gwalia Healthcare, along with Mark Whalley, Head of Manufacturing and Logistics at Firstkind, to find out more about the new partnership – and to see first-hand the benefits of the Council’s grant funding and associated support.
The Council’s Enterprise Investment Fund offers financial help to Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, private and social enterprises, and start-ups – to help them improve their long-term profitability. Grants of up to £10,000 are available, and Expressions of Interest can be made on the Council’s website.
The Council has recently approved a £10,000 grant to Gwalia Healthcare, which will make a significant contribution towards laser technology equipment required to assemble the geko™ product range. There is also an opportunity for a further £10,000 grant to be offered via the Fund.
Councillor Robert Bevan, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Housing, said:
“The Council offers a range of grant opportunities for local businesses through its Enterprise Investment Fund, in order to help them improve their long-term profitability – which will in turn help achieve economic growth across Rhondda Cynon Taf.
“I was pleased to meet Rod Parker and Mark Whalley about the partnership between Gwalia Healthcare and Firstkind Medical in Treforest. The Council’s financial help, and invaluable Officer support, has been a great asset to this exciting venture in the Life Sciences and Advanced Manufacturing sector.
“The partnership has created 18 local jobs, which are high-quality and well-paid – which is a fantastic outcome for the area, and shows the real difference that the Enterprise Investment Fund is making in our communities.”
Mark Whalley, Head of Manufacturing and Logistics at Firstkind Ltd, added:
“Firstkind are delighted to have found a partner within Rhondda Cynon Taf which is so committed to giving us the technical assistance and the supportive collaboration that we need to continue developing our product range, while providing us with the capacity to scale and fulfil our growing global customer base.”
Originally published online by Business News Wales, 17th February 2020.
Polymer manufacturer for the medical industry Gwalia Healthcare has announced a continued investment for its cleanroom capabilities.
The South Wales company has recently completed the first stage of its cleanroom development and has now started stages two and three. Gwalia Healthcare has finished the development of two ESD class 7, controlled environment areas dedicated to both injection moulding and medical device and component assembly.
The company now has plans to begin stage two and three, which will help it focus on production, R&D and the development of medical devices for clinical trials. All the cleanrooms include new ERP systems to deliver fill control and traceability for all components and assemblies.
The development of the new cleanrooms have been in response to Gwalia Healthcare’s growing medical devices business which sits alongside its packaging work for medicines. Speaking about the investment, Rod Parker, CEO of Gwalia Healthcare, said: “For some years now we have been de-commodifying our product range and an increase in high quality high value precision devices is a logical next step.”
Article orignally appeared in Medical Plastics News, 4 September 2018
Gwalia Healthcare has launched the Lozenge Range of child resistant nutraceutical complete packs. Gwalia Healthcare offers bespoke contract manufacturing and packaging solutions.
The Lozenge packs have been created for nutraceuticals, including multi-vitamins, dietary additives and other health and wellbeing products.
The Lozenge complete pack, which consists of a container, injection blow moulded in HDPE and a closure, injection moulded in PP; is available in five capacities.
The pack has been tested for child resistance and complies with ISO 8317:2015. This means that whilst it resists opening by children under 52 months within a reasonable period, it is still easily openable by older adults, those aged 50-70.
The new range offers high quality child resistant packs available to smaller or specialist manufacturers, in the growing specialist health and wellbeing and food supplements sector.
Original Article written by Waqas Qureshi 30 August 2018