Engineering firm teams up with packaging supplier to supply PPE visors 

Orthotropic Engineering visor

An engineering firm from Gloucestershire has joined forces with a local packaging supplier to manufacture critical PPE for health and care workers.

Orthotropic Engineering, based in Quenington, has created the visors after building on work from the field of 3D printing. In total, one thousand of the face visors will be donated.

Now the visor design is freely available from the Orthotropic website for any manufacturing businesses to use in creating more of them if they are able to do so.

Matthew Dawson, Director at Orthotropic, said: “Several companies and numerous enthusiasts have started using 3D printers to help make visors. Although this is a great initiative, 3D printing is a fairly slow process more suited to prototyping than serial production.

“The visor we have created is an adaptation of an open-source design for 3-D printing. However, it can be manufactured immediately and rapidly in large quantities without the need for any bespoke tooling. It’s delivered to where it’s needed in flat-pack form for easy shipping and storage, and can easily be assembled for use in less than a minute.”

Having crowd-funded over £8,000 on Just Giving to cover the cost of materials, Orthotropic turned to Cricklade-based packaging manufacturer GWP Group in order to produce the required elements of the visors.

This included the fabrication of the foam strip used to provide protection from above, as well as the outer corrugated boxes used to ship the visors.

Matthew added: “We were genuinely blown away by the public response to our fundraising as well as the rapid and generous response of suppliers such as GWP.”

Ian Heskins, Business Development Director at GWP Group, said; “When we were approached by Matthew at Orthotropic we were only too happy to help. With the material costs covered by the crowdfunding, we were able to provide the manufacturing expertise and capacity at no cost.”

“Two weeks ago a friend of mine arrived for her shift at work. She is a locum doctor, taking on extra shifts to help out as much as she can during the Coronavirus crisis. When she arrived the only PPE available to her was a pair of plastic gloves. She is a friend, a wife, mother to two girls, a daughter and a sister, and she was helping patients with COVID-19 without the correct equipment.

“Even though these visors will help, we believe there must be other people out there that could also manufacture them. Therefore, we’ve made the drawings available on our website for free download anywhere in the world. We will also gladly and freely provide the design files needed to get the parts cut.”

Established in November 2018, Orthotropic Engineering typically focuses on structural analysis and design, specialising in composite materials.