28. April 2020, 11:33 Uhr | Kathrin Veigel
RS Components gathers DesignSpark community in the UK to use 3D printing to produce visors to protect healthcare workers from Covid-19.
Distributor RS is donating PLA filament to produce 20,000 sight frames to support the UK National 3D Printing Society initiative.
RS Components, in partnership with the UK National 3D Printing Society (N3DPS), is working to help ensure that UK healthcare workers have rapid access to essential personal protective equipment (PPE) in times of corona. To directly support this, the distributor, in collaboration with its own brand RS Pro supplier, has donated 400kg of PLA filament from end-of-reel shipments to the organisation. This amount of filament is sufficient to produce up to 20,000 sight frames. The filament is available to users who participate in the N3DPS initiative.
DesignSpark community to help
In recent weeks, RS has reached out to the 930,000 member community of the DesignSpark engineering platform and invited members with access to a 3D printer to join an initiative to produce NHS-accepted (National Heath Service, UK health organisation) protective visors. The aim is to better protect healthcare professionals with an increased risk of infection.
At its site in Corby, Northamptonshire, the distributor plans to produce over 1,000 visors per week for this initiative. The UK 3D printing organisation is loaning some of its printers for this purpose.
Visor standard design can be produced quickly
N3DPS has developed a standard design for the visor that is easy, fast and inexpensive to produce. It also coordinates the campaign, which involves a network of people and organisations across the UK. In collaboration with official NHS suppliers, this design has been approved for use by the NHS. The approach provides assurance that proper disinfection procedures have been followed before the end products reach healthcare workers in urgent need of PPE. Since early April, more than 1,500 people have volunteered their time and 3D printers to produce these visors. The weekly production capacity is now more than 30,000.
Another partner playing a key role in the N3DPS initiative is Northampton-based plastics manufacturer Igus. It acts as a distribution centre and provides its facilities for the assembly of the visors. The company has also donated the transparent material that is added to each 3D printed frame. MedSupplyDriveUK brings the end products to the users.