Entering 2021, we were full of optimism. Despite it having been somewhat just as rocky as 2019/2020, we are proud of our achievements this year.

At the beginning of the year, we faced uncertainty with a number of our projects due to the lasting impacts from both Covid-19 and, Brexit. Instead of sitting back in another lockdown, we utilised this time to stop, fully analyse the business, restructure, and reset to maximise our effectiveness for the future. When normal demand resumed, we started afresh – ensuring everybody was aligned with our business values and direction.

We also spent this time developing a new website. The new design reflects a shift over the past few years to a stronger focus on medical device development. High quality design flows throughout our business, from medical devices and new products through to our specific engineering services. It was only right we updated our website to coincide. Alongside this, we’re proud to have released a vast amount of valuable content on topics spanning the entire design, development & engineering process; from risk management to DFM and sharing user insights. This content has been recognised and published elsewhere over the past year, including an article on the benefits of HFE (Human Factors Engineering) in the Engineering Designer.

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On a global level, the pharmaceutical industry has continued to excel, and we are proud to call a number of those companies our clients. Despite uncertainties and periods of home working lasting longer than we may have first anticipated, we are proud to have offered continuous, seamless, high-quality design, development & engineering services for our clients globally. 2021 has confirmed that we’re able to maintain this high quality of service and deliver exceptional products and devices for clients in the UK and, overseas having only ever met on Teams!

As a team of 12, when a parcel of 500 lateral flow tests landed on the doorstep, we thought it might have been excessive but, through teamwork and planning, we’ve managed to keep the office a COVID free zone, allowing us to step away from our home offices and work collaboratively, in person, when required.

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In fact, we have delivered a number of successful projects this year. One of which consisted of developing two different auto-injector trainer devices simultaneously. Having designed them from scratch to mimic the active device, we undertook the entirety of the design robustness and engineering work under full design controls. We made and supplied all prototypes, procured soft tooling, completed verification testing and delivered 60 samples of each device within just 10 months – all for a client in the US. We’re now working on refining the designs and tooling for volume manufacture.

Here at HD, we take pride in our network of associate consultants so, we were pleased to announce the addition of Paul Shipton and Suzanne Johnston of PS Partnerships to our team of experts earlier this year. Paul and Suzanne have already proven extremely valuable in providing us with polymer technical support and material selection for new product and medical device development.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, an estimated 74% of UK adults have felt stressed, overwhelmed, or unable to cope over the last year alone. Recognising this, we were also proud to appoint Design Development Engineer, Danny Morris, as our mental health first aider with support from our HR consultant, Hilary Mcdonald.

As part of our team development, we have undertaken a vast amount of training this year from risk management with our associate consultant Mike Heald, to sustainability and changes in the MDR with Paul Shipton and Mark Chipperfield.

During what has been an extremely challenging couple of years for all, both at home and at work, the HD team’s flexible and positive attitude allowed us to achieve huge growth and exceed our targets, heading into the summer on our best year end to date. We are pleased that this hard work and can-do attitude has been recognised throughout 2021 and gained us several award nominations including winning the category for Science, Technology & Innovation at the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce Business Awards in November.

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This year, we have had the pleasure of working with clients both old and, new. Having achieved company growth and seeing the industry start to pick up again, we welcomed Design Development Engineer, Luke Brown to the team and look forward to Design Engineer, James McPherson also joining us in the New Year!

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Last Christmas, we highlighted the increase in foodbank users throughout the pandemic, as well as the trajectory for beyond. Working in medical devices, we’ve been fairly busy throughout this period but, many others haven’t been as fortunate. So, we decided to end this year once again by making a donation to our local food bank at Rising Brook Church. We donated a range of items in high demand as well as Christmas gifts which were greatly appreciated. The foodbank has reported that downtimes between periods of celebration are usually the hardest hit months in terms of donations. So, we plan to work with Rising Brook Church to help with these difficult periods moving forward into 2022. Please take a look at helping your local foodbank, it’s been an extremely positive and eye-opening experience for HD.

It goes without saying that on a national level, the work of our fantastic NHS and its wider network, is something to be commended. We would also like to take a moment to thank our clients, consultants, and team for another year of great work and business.

We will be finishing for Christmas at 12pm on the 22nd of December and returning at 8am on the 4th of January, 2022 and look forward to another year developing new products and medical devices. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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