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Jaguar Land Rover wades into COVID-19 battle

Jaguar Land Rover starts production of new reusable visors for NHS

3 Apr 2020

JAGUAR Land Rover (JLR) has waded into battle against the spread of COVID-19, turning over its rapid prototype 3D printing facility to produce protective visors for the British National Health Service (NHS).


Co-developed with the help of the NHS, JLR says the reusable visors are the only ones of their kind and will be produced en masse at its Advanced Product Creation Centre in Gaydon, with the initial turnover rate being 1300 units per week.


Production of the visors officially began on Tuesday after several prototypes were designed, built, tested and refined in less than a week thanks to the brand’s rapid prototyping technology and feedback from healthcare professionals.


The visors themselves are made out of chemically resistant polycarbonate while the top caps are made “using state-of-the-art laser sintering, jet fusion and FDM processes” to ensure comfort and safety for frontline healthcare workers.


The whole apparatus is held in place – on the wearer’s head – by a replaceable elastic strap courtesy of Beacon Trimmings which can be swapped out quickly to avoid contamination.


Just four workers are responsible for assembling the finished product, with “strict processes in place” to ensure there is no chance of contaminating the visors before they leave the site.


JLR additive manufacturing and prototype design manager Ben Wilson said that while the effort was relatively small in comparison to others in the industry, it was a vital to help as many people as possible by utilising the resources at hand.


“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,” he said.


“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.”


With the design now settled on and production underway, discussions are reportedly happening with various JLR suppliers and partners to scale up production with the eventual goal being 5000 units per week.


According to JLR chief medical officer Dr Steve Iley, the health and safety of JLR’s employees, customers and their families is the brand’s top priority and that everyone could help those in need.


“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,” he said.


Just last week, all seven UK-based Formula One teams – Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Haas and Williams – agreed to unite and pool their resources under the ‘Project Pitlane’ moniker to help produce much needed ventilators for the NHS.


In America, Ford Motor Company has committed to producing hundreds of thousands of ventilators and face shields in conjunction with various healthcare bodies.


Back home in Australia, the local subsidiary is reportedly in discussions with the federal government and its US and UK counterparts as to how best leverage its manufacturing facilities and engineering prowess to play its part here.


Walkinshaw and Premcar are exploring a possible partnership to produce ventilators, Supercars team Erebus Motorsport has started producing facemasks and a protective Perspex box to protect workers, Triple Eight racing has designed a new kind of ventilator while HSV says it will volunteer its Clayton production facility if needed.


There have now been more than one million confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide, including 53,190 deaths and 212,229 recoveries as of 12.34pm today (April 3).


Australia’s current tally sits at 5314 confirmed cases, 5 deaths and 585 recoveries.

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