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Coronavirus update: Harkness Screens mobilizes global manufacturing strength for fight against pandemic

The company is working closely with the Union health ministry across multiple states to connect with hospitals and quarantine centres to deliver key equipment.

Mark Ashcroft, Harkness Screens chief executive officer

Our Correspondent

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken quite a large toll already. The countrywide shutdown and lack of work aside, the pandemic has raised the issue of medical health workers and professionals lacking the right equipment.

Several members of the film industry have stepped forward to contribute funds to tackle this issue. These include Harkness Screens, one of the world’s leading screen technology companies that specializes in the design and manufacture of projection screens and supporting technologies for cinema and live events.

Harkness has put into motion efforts to begin manufacturing key medical equipment like curtains, aprons and face shields for frontline workers.

Mark Ashcroft, CEO of Harkness Screens, said, “For us, this pandemic could be felt at the tail-end of last year when the onset of it in China meant that our factory remained closed from the Chinese new year to the end of March. As a result, when COVID-19 reached the other regions we operate in, we knew what to expect and were proactive in thinking of ways to help.

"Our teams across the world have been collaborating to think of products that could help those on the frontline. I have seen images of medical staff at drive-through testing centres in the USA and UK wearing aprons that are made from a material no thicker than a plastic bag you can get from a grocery store. They blow in the wind easily and expose people, putting them in danger of contracting the disease.”

Ashcroft added, “These heavy-duty aprons made out of PVC would sit far stiller and would take much more than a breeze to disrupt them. We truly believe we can help those on the frontline at the moment and hope that people take us up on our sincere offer to provide assistance in these unprecedented times.”

Chief scientist and director (research and development) Laurent Espitalier said, “All of the concepts we have come up with use the same techniques and technology that we use every day in the manufacture of cinema screens. Things like the medical curtains have a place in all critical industries and can be very easily produced by us. Speaking to my colleagues all over the world, who are in different stages of this pandemic, I am sure Harkness Screens can offer help where it is most needed. The fact that we have such a wide global footprint means we can help countries and provide them with high-quality PVC products, because we have a wealth of knowledge in that material.”

The pandemic has resulted in several countries across the world announcing lockdowns of varying degrees to prevent the spread of the contagion. Founded in 1929, Harkness has manufacturing facilities in the US, the UK, France, India and China.

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