Automotive accessory manufacturer EGR Group is helping keep Queenslanders safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, producing face shields and rigid, clear plastic protective screens in Brisbane.

The company was among the first Queensland companies to pivot as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Continued local and international demand for the Salisbury company’s new products means they are looking to continue manufacturing these items long term.

General Manager Sales and Marketing Noel O’Malley said EGR Group’s success in pivoting was due to their existing manufacturing capabilities.

‘We’re a Brisbane-based manufacturer employing 700 staff here and we’re quite unique in that we have a large plastics extrusion plant with state-of-the-art German machines able to make the components for protective screens and face shields,’ Mr O’Malley said.

‘When the pandemic started, we received intense domestic and international interest to buy these products.

‘With the face shields, we quickly designed and tooled up all the required injection-moulded components.

‘The clear shield part is made in Brisbane along with the halo and the straps, and we put it together – even the box is made in Brisbane.

‘It’s hard to get a product that’s more Australian-made than that unless it’s grown in the ground!

‘Within 4 weeks of starting in April, we were making 10,000 face shields a day and we are currently producing 25,000 a day.

‘We now have a team of 25 manufacturing staff just making the face shields and we produced 117,000 last week.’

The family-owned advanced manufacturing business traditionally specialises in making ute canopies and bull bars for motor companies in Australia and internationally, exporting to over 40 countries.

The company’s face shields have been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association in Australia and are made from high optical quality PETG which is recyclable.

Mr O’Malley said EGR Group had been working with state and federal governments to pursue contract orders while also exploring export opportunities.

‘We’ve recently secured an order for 500,000 face shields via a medical supply company to be added to Australia’s national stockpile of PPE,’ he said.

‘In the USA, we’re working with a number of companies to trial our product and we’re hopeful of securing some orders in the next few weeks to be shipped via sea from our Brisbane factory.’

Mr O’Malley said pivoting to sell products outside of the automotive industry during the pandemic had been challenging at times.

‘COVID-19 meant we had a massive drop off in sales of our automotive products in March and April before we pivoted.

‘But because selling medical supplies is not our core business, navigating government regulations and trying to secure contracts has been challenging.

‘We’ve seen a surge in demand in recent weeks – the situation in Victoria and a few of the scares in Queensland and New South Wales has resulted in companies being even more conscious of the need to create a safer environment for their workers.’

EGR Group is committed to producing these products long-term and is currently working on adding additional features.

‘For example, we are undertaking product development to make the product truly anti-fog,’ Mr O’Malley said.

‘Our aim is to make the best reusable face shield in Australia with a replaceable shield and easy-to-clean parts.

‘We’re finding in this recent second round of demand that consumers are looking for reusable products to reduce waste.

‘We think we will have one of the best, most cost-effective reusable face shields in the market and we think there’s an opportunity to offer this product long term.’

EGR Group is based at Salisbury, Brisbane, with factories in the UK, North America, China and Thailand.

EGR is proud to join TIQ’s #SupportQLDExport campaign to celebrate exporters who have been succeeding globally and locally, showing resilience, adaptability and dedication over the past year.

Learn more about the campaign and share your #SupportQLDExport story.