Continuing with our efforts to highlight the efforts and initiatives taken up by companies across the globe to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. We bring you the third article with a focus on how automakers are contributing in the fight to help doctors, healthcare workers and patients amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Automakers leveraging 3D printing technology
Jaguar Land Rover to 3D Print Protective Visors for Covid-19 Frontline Workers
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), the British multinational automaker, announced that it will be using its prototype build operations to start production of 3D printed protective visors for healthcare workers, utilising its CAD design expertise to answer the government call for more vital equipment to fight coronavirus.
The design for the visor has been approved by a team of NHS healthcare professionals. The visors will now be 3D printed at the Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, home to one of the most advanced 3D printing facilities in Europe.
For printing the visors, JLR has collaborated with companies like Pro2Pro in Telford so that the production can be scaled up to 5000 visors a week for NHS trusts across the country.
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.
Happy at the team effort, Ben Wilson, the Additive Manufacturing and Prototype Design Manager at JLR said, “It’s been a real team effort, we’ve trialled different materials and improved the design over several iterations in consultation with real doctors and nurses on the frontline – this has allowed us to create something unique and truly fit-for-purpose. While this is a small effort, it is vital we help as many people as we can by utilising our resources. Collaborative teams working at Jaguar Land Rover, along with the wider computer-aided design and 3D printing community will continue to do what we can to help healthcare workers.”
Once the visors are 3D printed, they 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.
Jaguar Land Rover will continue to work closely with the UK government. It 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.
Mercedes-Benz to 3D Print High-Priority Covid-19 Medical Supplies
Mercedes-Benz, a Daimler AG company, has stepped in to provide support in manufacturing medical equipment to help with the fight against Covid-19 pandemic. It will be using its 3D printers to produce individual components that are needed in the medical field at high-priority.
Jorg Burzer, a member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz AG, production, and supply chain believes, “With our highly competent team and years of experience in 3D printing technology, we are ready to make our contribution to the production of medical devices. To this end, we are also in contact with the state government of Baden-Württemberg. Our expertise and specialist knowledge is available for production; now it is up to the medical technology sector to contact us. Our 3D printers are definitely available.”
NASCAR 3D Printing Face Shields for Covid-19 Response
NASCAR’s Research and Development Centre in Concord revealed the 3D printed safety splash shields or simply face shields. The NASCAR’s R&D centre has 5 3D printers that are now running 18 hours a day with approximately eight engineers volunteering their time to oversee production from approximately 7 a.m. until midnight every day. The newest printer, about the size of an outdoor shed, can print three face shields every 2½ hours.
According to Eric Jacuzzi, senior director of NASCAR’s aerodynamics and vehicle performance, “That’s the one we try to keep running almost nonstop. We have people that are actually having their teenage children help with cutting the clear facial part as part of their volunteer work at home, six of us running the machines, and more people reaching out to help.”
Skoda 3D Printing CIIRC Developed Respirators for Doctors and Front-Line Workers Fighting Covid-19
The Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics (CIIRC) of the Czech Technical University (CTU) has developed a reusable respirator – the CIIRC RP95-3D respirators – that helps protect the wearer against infection by the new coronavirus and is mainly intended for doctors and other front-line staff.
This respirator can be made using specific types of 3D printers and fulfils the highest-level protection criteria set by the team. The entire process, from the start of development to the certification of the respirator and getting production up and running, took just a week.
According to the team, the respirator can be made using any of the three types of HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer and so knowing this, Skoda the Czech automobile manufacturer, offered to help and support in the 3D printing of the respirator.
Speaking about the support Skoda is providing, David Vaněk, head of EGV, which is the prototype and model construction department at ŠKODA, said, “The Czech Technical University opted for Multi Jet Fusion using the polyamide PA-12. This printing method ensures you get a homogeneous material that does not have distinct layers and is not porous. That is key, because it means traces of the virus do not remain in it and it’s easy to disinfect.”
The ŠKODA 3D printer can now print 60 units in a single batch. The printed sets consist of four parts: the main masks, seal caps, the filter cartridge attachment adapter and exhalation covers.
David continued, “Everything was fine-tuned so that the respirators in a print batch were as close as possible without affecting each other so that the printing process was as efficient as possible,” says Martin Sova, coordinator of plastics production and the 3D printing competence centre in the prototype construction department.
The world is facing a crisis like no other in recent history and it needs to unite against the same. The 3D printing industry is using all its capabilities of rapidly producing new or replacement parts and showcasing the power of the technology and playing its part in the fight against Covid-19.
(Note: Manufactur3D is not responsible for the legality, validity and feasibility of the products mentioned in this article but we are reporting on how companies have taken up numerous initiatives to fight against the pandemic. We are not responsible for the effects of the products – good or bad)
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