Our Story - Bluetree Mask Box
For over 30 years we (Bluetree) have been manufacturing quality products from our base in South Yorkshire, only recently has that story begun to include face masks.
Originally, we started life as a screen-printing business before joining forces in 2012 with an online printing business called instantprint, started by Adam and James. Together we created the Bluetree Group and became one of the fastest growing businesses in the country, appearing on the Virgin Sunday Times Fast Track 100 ranking not once but twice.
(James Kinsella and Adam Carnell accepting their virgin Fast Track 100 award in 2015)
When we moved to our current home in sunny South Yorkshire back in 2015, we thought we'd never fill the space. At 100,000 square foot, it was bigger than most supermarkets and made a lorry look tiny. In fact, our machinery back then didn't even cover half the factory!
(Our first building before we fitted it out)
Fast forward four years, the factory was filling up fast and the offices beginning to become a squeeze. With an ever-expanding team we needed additional space, so we bought the building next door. Our plans for using the extra 45,000 square feet were to expand our new exhibition range downstairs and create a new office space upstairs with over 300 desks.
(Our 100,000sq ft UK Based Production Facility)
Enter 2020 and we're having to adapt. Many of our customers run bars, restaurants and exhibitions so have been hit hard by the new social distancing measures. Our print work has dropped significantly and many of the team have been furloughed.
Then it struck us, we had a team of brilliant machine operators, a large empty factory ready to use, a Biomedical scientist and a country in need of a supply of facemasks.
(Our first face mask machine arriving at Bluetree)
Realising we were well positioned to take up the call to arms, we set about transforming the building, creating clean rooms to house a surgical mask production facility.
(Applying the finishing touches to the construction of our clean room)
Over the last few months our team have learned more about non-woven fabrics, ultrasonic welding, ISO clean rooms, air filtration systems, the European testing standard certification (EN14683:2019), medical device registration and ourselves than we ever could have imagined.
(Our face mask machines installed in the clean room)
As we stand, our first batch of masks is currently with one of the UKs largest testing bodies. Unfortunately, with the number of imported masks having to be tested there are longer waiting times than usual. We're hoping to have the results back in mid-June at which point we'll go into full production. Initially we'll be producing around 1.4 million masks each week but with plans to bring material production in house we're hoping to expand this to 20 million per week by September.
We’re proud to be manufacturing these masks in the UK and ensuring that were helping to protect those people on the front line who need them the most.
You may have seen Bluetree Mask Box in the news recently - take a look at our latest articles here.