Jaguar Land Rover will be turning over its prototype build operations to start production of protective visors for keyworkers, utilising its CAD design expertise to answer the British government’s call for more vital equipment to fight coronavirus.
The only reusable, National Health Service (NHS) – approved visor of its kind, 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 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.
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 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. 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, 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.