THE recent Covid pandemic demonstrated the vital importance of vaccines and their safe manufacture means an efficient filtration system is paramount.

John Morfield is a specialist in supplying filtration products and the UK’s leading stockist and supplier, catering not only for the pharmaceutical industry but also whisky distillers, food companies and the oil and gas sector.

The Herald: Above, Kevin English of John Morfield Filtration Specialists

“We just quietly go about our business but you can find our products everywhere all over the UK,” said Scotland and Ireland sales director Kevin English. 

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Air filtration systems are just part of the 3000 filtration products that the company, which deals with their global manufacturers, can supply.

First established in the North East of England in 1962 to supply the steel and chemical industries in Teeside with filtration products, the company has since expanded into Ireland, Scotland and the rest of the UK and now has a turnover of £16m, with around £2m of stock at any one time, meaning products can be supplied quickly when needed.

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It is still a family run business with just short of 50 employees, many of whom have been with the company long term averaging 16 years service and have years of experience in the market, enabling them not only to supply products but also advise on the best ones to use.

In Scotland, the business supplies nearly 70 per cent of the whisky manufacturers with filtration products as well as pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline.

It is also involved in the upcoming biopharm sector in Scotland which is developing vaccines and other drugs.

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“The Covid pandemic showed how important vaccines are and in order to get them just right you have to have top class filtration,” said Kevin. “Filtration is always the last line of defence in any product as it purifies them and making them clean and sterile. When it comes to the biopharm sector it is so important that these vaccines they manufacture are at a high standard.

"You are talking about 0.2micron filtration to make them sterile and a micron is so tiny you can’t see it at all with the naked eye with 40 micron being the human vision lowest limit. It really is fine filtration.”

The company sources sterile filters and integrity testing devices that comply with the most rigorous tests and standards from the biggest filtration manufacturers around the world.

“Our carefully sourced products ensure that processes and systems are always consistent, reliable and testable,” said Kevin. “Curating the best performing filters from global brands ensures that we can act as a single source of supply and always have the right filters for the job in stock.”

Unlike drug and vaccine manufacturing where filtration is necessary to ensure the product is safe and sterile, whisky filtration is purely cosmetic purposes while retaining the body of the spirit.

However it is equally valuable as consumers want a clear product rather than a cloudy one.

“It’s important to have the brand looking as pristine as possible when it comes to the point of sale,” said Kevin. “It may not be as fine a filtration in whisky as it is for chemicals but it is just as crucial, especially when you are talking about the value of some of that spirit.”

In Scotland, John Morfield is based at Strathclyde Business Park and supplies William Grant’s at the same site.

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“When we first started in Scotland we found William Grant’s had  problems with their different suppliers.  By providing them with our single source supply solution we were able to resolve all their problems and delivery a more consistent supply chain to them. This has lead to a relationship spanning 20 years.” said Kevin. “We probably deal with about 60-70 per cent of the main whisky producers in Scotland, from the new distillers like the Isle of Harris distillery to the big players like William Grant and Glenmorangie so we are well versed in spirit filtration.

“We have good geographical coverage and always invest back into the business and into the people and I think that shows as our staff retention is very good.”

Kevin added: “At John Morfield we've always gone that extra step to do more than what's necessary, that's why we also employ full time technicians and engineers as well as work closely with suppliers to help solve process problems and reduce operational costs.

“Our sales engineers were specifically recruited from the industries which we now serve to ensure they can provide you with knowledge and practical experience. Working with some of the world's leading filter manufactures allows us to provide clients with new and innovative products at the leading edge of filter technology.

“Our technical support consists of problem solving existing installations or recommending a complete filter system designed to specific requirements. Our on-site technical support is supported and complemented by our internal team. We also carry out-on site training in all aspects of filtration - from technical issues through to the safe handling installation and service of all types of filters within our supply filter trials.”