Nine manufacturers and an engineering design agency in the UK have developed a new type of visor to protect frontline workers from the coronavirus pandemic.
According to The Engineer, the collective led by the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN Group) asserts that the new ‘manKIND Visor’ is easy to assemble, reusable and more comfortable than current options.
The collective took about six weeks – from initial concept and prototyping – to create a bespoke tool at Birmingham-based Barkley Plastics that they say is capable of producing 500,000 units per year.
According to the MAN Group, about 20,000 of these visors will be donated to charitable causes, with South Warwickshire NHS Trust, New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, Support Staffordshire, and the Pen Museum in Birmingham being the first recipients.
Once this allocation has been finalized, the visor will then be sold directly to healthcare organisations, schools, retailers and businesses.
“We initially started 3D printing and distributing a few visors to help the NHS, but quickly realized we needed a more robust production method to keep up with demand,” says Austin Owens, Founder of Grove Design and the driving force behind the project.
“This is when we approached other members in the MAN Group to look at options and came up with the plan to design and develop our own version, tapping into Barkley Plastics’ toolmaking and molding expertise and the collective’s supply chain capability for sourcing the right materials and distribution.”
The MAN Group alone employs over 2000 people across 21 factories, and has invested more than $38,000 into the design and manufacture of the manKIND Visor.
“Our visor is lightweight, easy to assemble with a push clip feature, suitable for repeated use, can be easily cleaned, and includes a full peak for better protection,” explains Owens.
“Comfort was also a priority and this is reflected in the inclusion of a ‘stretch’ headband that removes the need for a foam band and elasticated straps.”
“Importantly, the user also has space to wear a face mask underneath it and the visor fits a variety of head sizes, making it suitable for many children.”
The mold developed by Barkley Plastics proved integral in making the new manKIND visor a reality. According to MAN, the final tool should be able to produce between 8,000 and 12,000 units per week.
Image and content: MAN Group/The Engineer