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Jaguar Land Rover begin producing 3D printed visors for NHS staff

03/04/2020
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Jaguar Land Rover have announced that they are beginning production of protective visors for key workers in the NHS. They are planning to 3D-print 1,300 visors per week initially, with plans to increase the operation for mass production.

The firm have worked alongside a team of NHS healthcare professionals at their Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, and come up with a suitable, reusable design.

JLR have developed reusable protective visors that they are sending to NHS Trusts for staff fighting coronavirus
(Image via Jaguar Land Rover)

The ACC is home to the one of the most advanced 3D printing facilities in Europe, and has been turned over for “efficient rapid prototype printing” for medical supplies in response to the government’s call for the manufacture of vital equipment.

JLR are calling their protective shield “the only reusable, NHS-approved visor of its kind”.

The visors, designed with NHS healthcare professionals, can be easily disassembled and cleaned for reuse
(Image via Jaguar Land Rover)

The visors have a clear shield made using chemically-resistant polycarbonate, trimmed down by RGH Rubber Ltd using a multi-cutter machine. The cap top is crafted using state-of-the-art laser sintering, jet fusion and FDM processes to ensure it can be worn comfortably and safely for several hours. A secure elastic strap is provided by Beacon Timmings of Coventry to hold the visor in place. Each visor is designed to be easily dismantled and cleaned before being used again.

A prototype was designed, tested and improved several times in under a week
(Image via Jaguar Land Rover)

The engineers working on the project developed several iterations of a prototype design in under a week, sending them to a team of healthcare professionals at the Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust for pre-line trials, and rapidly making improvements in line with feedback.

"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,” said Ben Wilson, additive manufacturing and prototype design manager for JLR.

“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.”

A skeleton staff at JLR's facility are developing the visors in a safe and complaint way
(Image via Jaguar Land Rover)

Assembly began on the 31st March at Jaguar Land Rover’s facility in Warwickshire, who are able to initially print 1,300 per week and supply them to NHS trusts across the country. A skeleton team of four employees assemble the visors in a specially designated clean area, with strict processes in place to ensure there is no risk of contamination before the finished visors leave the site.

“The health and safety of our employees, customers and their families remains our priority. It’s important we all utilise our skills, expertise and facilities to help protect NHS staff on the frontline during our country’s greatest crisis in a generation. We can all play a part in helping those who need it most,” said Dr. Steve Iley, JLR’s chief medical officer.

JLR's visors will protect healthcare workers on the front line of the fight against covid-19
(Image via Jaguar Land Rover)

Through collaboration with companies such as Pro2Pro in Telford, they hope to scale that up to 5,000 a week. It’s hoped that ongoing talks with additional suppliers and partners will allow the development of a mass production tool to scale it up further.

The company have also said that they intend to make the open source CAD design files available to additive manufacturers and suppliers, so that more can be produced by other firms.

JLR can produce 1,300 visors per week initially, though they hope to scale up to mass production through partnerships with other firms
(Image via Jaguar Land Rover)

The company are also working with the UK government and several consortia of manufacturers to develop engineering and design of other essential equipment, including ventilators.

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Jaguar Land Rover begin producing 3D printed visors for NHS staff - Time to read 4 min
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