A family-run firm from Bristol has scooped a top award from Her Royal Highness the Queen for an invention which keeps plaster casts and dressings dry in water. Yate-based Precision Dippings Manufacturing Limited (PDM) has won the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
The award recognises PDM’s success in in the field of innovation after developing a product called ‘Bloccs’ – a range of reusable waterproof arm and leg protectors for patients with plaster casts and dressings. When fitted with a plaster cast, patients are advised to keep their casts away from water so they do not become soggy and fall apart, or worse, cause an infection.
Bloccs keep injuries bone dry by slipping over an injured arm or leg like a glove or stocking. Their rubber seals combine the technology PDM used to put the stretch into the iconic Stretch Armstrong toy in the 1970s, with the watertight wrist, ankle and neck seals it supplies for the world’s top drysuit manufacturers today.
“Bloccs are popular with injured children who want to swim on their summer holidays, side-lined athletes who need a speedier rehabilitation through aquatic non-weight bearing exercise, and anyone who wants to bathe or shower independently after surgery or in spite of having a dressed wound,” explained Kate Richards, co-director of PDM. “It’s the first consumer product we’ve taken to market since starting in 1964, so we’re incredibly proud.
“The key to the success of Bloccs has been its 100 per cent watertight seal technology, our personalised customer service and striking a deal with high street giant Boots.”
Sales and export figures for Bloccs have increased year-on-year since it was launched in 2013 (including a 25 per cent rise in 2016). Kate said the product’s growth had exceeded all expectations and the Queen’s Award could provide a springboard for further success.
“We see potential for growth in Australia and the United States,” she said. “This win has laid the foundation for that. We won’t stop until we’ve condemned the plaster cast and dressing wrapped in carrier bags to the history books.”
Kate and the PDM team will receive their award from the Queen at a Buckingham Palace reception in July.
The full range of Bloccs protectors are on sale at boots.com and bloccs.com.