Coronavirus: Jaguar Land Rover builds 3D-printed visors for UK health workers
Jaguar Land Rover will be turning over its prototype build operations to start production of protective visors, utilising its CAD design expertise to answer the government call for more vital equipment to fight coronavirus.
The design of this reusable, NHS-approved visor has been developed in consultation with a team of NHS healthcare professionals for prototype printing at the Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, home to one of the most advanced 3D printing facilities in Europe.
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It comes as a national shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for NHS staff on the frontline in the fight against Covid-19 has resulted in many key workers suffering injury from wearing uncomfortable equipment for long hours or going without vital protective wear.
Pre-line trials have already taken place with a team of healthcare professionals at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust before assembly began at Jaguar Land Rover in Warwickshire on 31 March.
Using rapid prototyping technology, has enabled the engineers to work through several iterations of the design in under a week, allowing for medical staff to feed back and improvements to be made.
Engineers in the Additive Manufacturing Centre, who have designed and manufactured the visors, are now in discussions with suppliers and partners to scale up production. They hope to create a tool that will enable mass production.
Each face visor has been designed to be reusable, and can be easily dismantled and cleaned before being used again; safeguarding NHS trusts against future shortages as the situation develops.
The clear shield is manufactured using chemically-resistant polycarbonate, which is trimmed down by RGH Rubber Limited using a multi-cutter machine. Created using state-of-the-art laser sintering, jet fusion and FDM processes, the team went to particular lengths to ensure the cap top can be worn comfortably and safely for many hours by dedicated healthcare workers.
A secure elastic strap – provided by Beacon Trimmings of Coventry – holds the visor in place, and can be quickly and easily replaced to avoid contamination.
The visors are assembled by a skeleton team of four Jaguar Land Rover employees in a specially designed clean area. Strict processes are in place to ensure there is no risk of contamination before the finished visors leave site.