Covid-19 has dramatically impacted our daily lives in a myriad of ways. It has shaken global supply chains, blunted national economies, and has significantly morphed day to day procedures. Like many companies and organizations the world over, luminescent polymer producer Visible247 has been working diligently to adapt to these demands caused by an unprecedented event.
By John Tapley
Based out of the UK, Visible247 designs high performance photoluminescent polymers, which are used by a variety of products and in numerous applications. “Medical through the military”, Visible247’s signature technology has been used in a range of products from mine field markers to inhalers; household devices such as locks, light switches, and address numbers; and on the go implementations such as key rings and watches. For outdoor aficionados, Visible247’s polymers have illuminated boat deck lockers, flashlights, knives, dive sticks, and many other items.
We spoke with Visible247 founder Chris Hall about Covid-19’s impact on the company, its scuba-related projects, and predictions on future developments.
JT: Thank you for meeting with me this morning, Chris. Covid-19 has shaken the foundation of the world. How has it affected your business? How is Visible247 responding to the pandemic?
CH: The effect has been quite dramatic because as you are probably aware, we have two manufacturing centers: one which is China and one which is in the UK. At the start of the year, our China-based manufacturing facilities were completely offline. In fact, those have only just literally this week [the first week of April] got back to being 100 percent online. This week we’ve had to furlough the UK facilities.
JT: Are there any new developments or applications that would’ve been released, which are now postponed?
CH: For sure. Everything we exhibited, the version ones, at DEMA, are basically on hold for this season. A higher performance dive marker that we had hoped to be able to have ready for DEMA this year, is probably also going to be a season behind.
The biggest lost on us is that we’ve probably completely lost this year’s main season with relevance to the dive industry. Products we would have hoped to have released this year certainly won’t be out until next year; and those include performance enhancements to some of the things we’ve already shown.
The other big impact is that, obviously, any form of shutdown brings with it unforeseens. Those unforeseens sometimes have advantages with them in that a lot of the work we did in the first quarter of this year with China being shut down as semi-theoretical work that has enabled us to boost performance again quite dramatically; we probably wouldn’t have got that done had we been up to full production capacity.
JT: Are there any new Visible247 products or developments on the horizon?
CH: The only things that are new are going to be performance enhancements above and beyond what they saw at DEMA [last] year. Obviously, then, that can be deployed through third parties rather than just the teaser products we make ourselves.
Once we get back up and running, I think there’s going to be quite a lot. Most of our work tends to be, rather than products put out by Visible, the vast majority of everything we do is to create components for other manufacturers. There are a couple big players we’re working with who will be a season behind when they bring products to market.
JT: Thank you for our interview, Chris. Is there anything else you’d like to express with our readers?
CH: We’ll be back; but at this stage, like many others, a lot of our activities are furloughed because our supply chains are so interrupted; and indeed the retail chains have been interrupted.
For more details on Visible247, visit visible247.com.