National Manufacturing Institute Scotland

Breathe Easy

Breathe Easy

Face masks quickly became a focal point of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, with a shortage of supplies across the world.

Breathe Easy makes lip-reading face masks which have been well received by the deaf community, as well as cotton masks available to the public and key workers.


Breathe Easy’s products protect users within a casual environment however are not yet certified for medical use despite growing demand across care organisations, NHS trusts and the wider medical industry.

Before the NHS and other medical bodies can purchase ‘Type 2R’ masks, the supplier must have them certified to ensure they are safe. Only a handful of labs in Europe are able to certify the product hence there is a long queue for an appointment with a comprehensive portfolio required.

How did NMIS help?

Through an advisory role, experts in manufacturing design certification at NMIS supported the company in the delivery of a portfolio, documenting the design process and outlining the specifications of the product. Using technical knowledge and the signposting of supply chain partners, NMIS is helping the company gain certification for use of its ‘Type 2R’ masks within a hospital or care setting.

Gavin McAdam, founder of Breathe Easy, said:

“We started this extraordinary journey trying simply to help those key and frontline workers requiring protection from COVID-19 get access to quality facemasks however it quickly became clear that there was a real need for the full range of our products and we realised the importance of formalising designs, elevating the product and standardising the output. Additionally, our manufacturing capability to meet the scale of the developing market had to be addressed, whilst maintaining quality over quantity.

“Both NMIS and Scottish Enterprise’s contributions to help us meet these needs, join the dots and create links into resources and advice, has been nothing short of exemplary. If we are successful in bringing a “world first product” of CE certified stature to a market very much in need, during unprecedented times over an incredibly short period of time, it will be with great pride and in the knowledge, gratitude and recognition of a truly first class collaboration.”

Business impact

With ongoing support from NMIS, the company has been able to achieve a remarkable increase in its business stream with over 50,000 face masks fabricated locally. A social enterprise spin-out from project management consultation MACI, in direct response to the Covid19 pandemic, Breathe Easy’s rapid growth has seen a 400% increase in the size of its production premises as well as the recruitment of extra staff, while it works with NMIS engineers to gain certification for medical use of its masks, expanding its offering.