Major UK manufacturer converts technical centres to manufacture face shields for use as PPE by front line healthcare workers.
As a part of the national effort to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) in the fight against COVID-19, Ricardo is poised to begin production of protective face shields for use by frontline NHS healthcare staff as well as by key workers in the care home sector.
To ensure that the face shields can get to NHS staff that need them as quickly as possible, facilities at Ricardo’s Technical Centres at Shoreham by Sea in West Sussex and Leamington Spa are being repurposed as assembly lines and logistics centres for the face shields.
The face shield is being produced to a bespoke Ricardo design, a prototype of which was delivered by the company’s in-house rapid prototyping team. However, due to the volume constraints of rapid prototyping, it was insufficient to meet the volumes required.
For this reason, Ricardo has used an injection moulding partner to create a tool capable of high-volume manufacture. Using this bespoke tooling, the team has refined the original rapid prototype design of the face shield for enhanced comfort over extended periods of wear, inviting local NHS doctors to test it for comfort and wearability. Tooling and the first batch of units is already in progress and Ricardo will make its first donation of face shields to NHS staff and key frontline workers shortly after Easter.
In addition to the supply of face shields to the NHS and others in the UK, Ricardo is looking to make similar initiatives at its facilities in Europe and the US, for the benefit of local communities. The company has also offered its services to support the rapid design or conversion of vehicles for use as ambulances and as other support vehicles, and has offered the use of some facilities for testing or as logistic centres.