Cork company rolls with it to combat Covid-19

If you have an idea or dream just go for it says engineer and entrepreneur Sean Hayes
Cork company rolls with it to combat Covid-19
Sean Hayes with the Hansans roll-on hand sanitiser. Picture: Jack O'Callaghan

The most ingenious ideas are usually the simplest ones. Spotting a gap in the market during the pandemic, a Cork engineer devised a roll-on hand-sanitiser, similar to roll-on deodorants.

Hansans has an alcohol content of 70% and is antiviral and antibacterial. Sean Hayes of MTD Precision Engineering created the innovative system.

Billed as the world’s first roll-on hand sanitiser, it is easy to dispense, allows for less waste of product and an even distribution, through a convenient anti-spill design.

Its story is also one of a business that used its nimble approach to its advantage while tackling coronavirus. “After an initial downturn in our traditional engineering design and manufacturing business, we felt compelled to take action and innovate while contributing to the combined efforts of those combating Covid-19,” said Sean.

The Hansans roll-on hand sanitiser. Picture: Jack O'Callaghan
The Hansans roll-on hand sanitiser. Picture: Jack O'Callaghan

So, the team spun out a new start-up company Hansans to focus on realising his idea for a hand sanitiser. 

MTD immediately began looking for appropriate collaborators locally which resulted in the product design concept. To ensure safe and spill-free packaging, the company developed a new roll-on hand sanitiser bottle. 

Another local company then assisted in the selection of certified hand sanitiser formula with a 70% ethanol content. The result? A durable, easy-to-use on-the-go hand sanitiser. 

“As one of Ireland’s leading precision engineering companies, specialising in the design and manufacture of equipment for clients in the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries, our agility and experience as an SME allowed us to rapidly adapt to new circumstances arising from the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Sean.

Within a short timeframe of just seven weeks, they have taken the product from concept through to delivery. 

“MTD’s ability to temporarily alter business focus in order to combat the issue of the hand sanitiser shortage, while simultaneously enlisting the use of local businesses to create a product capable of competing at a global level, portrays an amazing sense of flexibility and determination amongst the local business community, especially in times of need such as that of the current global pandemic,” he added. “Our distributors of the Hansans hand sanitiser have reported a very positive response from the back-to-work, sports and schools market.” 

The MTD mechanical team worked tirelessly from home, in order to develop and design both the hand sanitiser product itself and the special-purpose filling line which would fill, label and pack the final result, added Sean.

“This was achieved in record time,” he said. “As an established SME, MTD Precision Engineering continues to support local manufacturing companies as part of its core business in the life sciences sector while still innovating to create spin-out enterprises such as Hansans.

Sean not only takes a silver-lining business approach, but he is keen to encourage other aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams: “We are so proud of how far we have come as a business. If I have any advice for anyone thinking of starting their entrepreneurial journey it would be to not be afraid of failure or being critiqued,” he said.

“If you have an idea or a dream, you have to grab the bull by the horns and just go for it. In life, there will always be obstacles that need to be overcome and for every 20 ideas that you may have only one may work out. But in order for that one good idea to succeed, you must keep going at it, practise trial and error and understand that failure happens. It is important that local SMEs believe in their own abilities, use the resources available to them in terms of the Local Enterprise Offices, who provide bountiful support, and trust in the powers-that-be."

With assistance and advice from the Local Enterprise Office South Cork, Hansans has established itself as a new Irish manufacturing company. “We now sell product into the Irish and Swedish markets and are actively seeking distributors in other European countries,” said Sean. Hansans availed of the LEO Trading Online Voucher to help establish the businesses website and ecommerce platform; for more information see

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