PDM directors Kate Richards and Douglas King, with their Bloccs protector.
A Bristol-based manufacturer of rubber products for a variety of industries has been awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for an invention that keeps plaster casts and dressings dry in water.
Precision Dippings Marketing Limited (PDM) was awarded the accolade for its ‘Bloccs’ product – 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.