Jaguar Land Rover has announced the beginning of the production of protective face visors for COVID-19 healthcare workers as an answer to the government call for more vital equipment to fight coronavirus. The visors utilise JLR’s CAD design expertise. It is said to be the only reusable, NHS-approved visor of its kind, and the design has been developed in consultation with a team of NHS healthcare professionals for efficient rapid prototype printing at the Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, home to one of the most advanced 3D printing facilities in Europe.
It comes as a national shortage in the UK of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for NHS staff on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19 has resulted in many key workers suffering an injury from wearing uncomfortable equipment for long hours or going without vital protective wear.
Through collaboration with companies such as Pro2Pro in Telford, the ambition is to produce 5,000 visors a week for NHS trusts across the country. 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 feedback 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.
It is Jaguar Land Rover’s intention to make the open-source CAD design files available to Additive Manufacturers and suppliers, so many more protective visors can be printed over the coming weeks.
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 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 the site.
Jaguar Land Rover continues to work closely with the UK government and has offered its research and engineering expertise, as well as digital engineering and design, the printing of 3D models and prototypes, machine learning, artificial intelligence and data science support. As part of ongoing consortia, Jaguar Land Rover will also support those providing vital equipment for ventilator development.
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