To support key healthcare workers, at the beginning of March our Design and Technology team used 3D printers to make a visor headband based on a freely available CAD (computer aided design) from the printing manufacturer Prusa, a firm based in the Czech Republic.
This early headband design soon evolved and within two weeks and with a series of different prototypes, the team designed their own CAD file that suited the bed size of the workshop’s 3D printers. Twenty hours of daily printing was soon underway - two stacked towers of eight headbands every hour – a capacity of over 150 per day or 1,000 a week for workers in pharmacists, care homes, GP surgeries and hospitals across London.
To enable us to produce PPE for close patient care situations, an application was made to the British Standards Institution (BSi) to ask for our product to be tested against their EN166 standard that focuses on the safety of PPE. BSi test results, however, identified two flaws: first, it failed on the transparency of the PVC screen; second, it failed on lateral eye protection due to the design of the headband.
The first issue was resolved after finding a Dartford supplier of suitably thick and transparent PVC. Importantly, they could guarantee a continued supply.
The second issue was resolved through the creation of a new CAD model of the visor with new anchor points for the PVC screen, and through the development of an additional prototype that incorporated fixings that could use easily available elastic. More prototypes enabled these new versions to be honed so that 16 could be printed in a 24 hour period. There was great satisfaction (and relief) that these versions, with the PVC screen closer to the user’s temple, passed BSi testing.
The BSi application process has included instructions of use, a CE mark (a certification mark that indicates conformity with health, safety, and environmental protection standards) and a product logo on the visor in the form of a sticker.
All this will become part of Year 13’s ‘manufacturing standards’ teaching and learning, and in 2020-21 the hope is to take up BSi’s generous invitation to Year 13s to visit their Hemel Hempstead HQ to observe testing first-hand.