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Published: 2020-04-03

Protective visors for health care manufactured quickly at Curiosum

NEWS The lack of protective equipment in health care has led to the machines running hot at Curiosum – Umeå's new science centre – at Umeå University. The task at hand is to manufacture holders for protective visors, and head of workshop Magnus Lindgren has therefore developed a more efficient production method using waterjet cutting. "We can produce about a hundred units per hour," he says.

Text: Eva Lönn

Curiosum will manufacture 1,000 visor holders for health care workers in Umeå.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is a severe shortage of protective equipment – such as protective visors and face masks – throughout the nation’s health care system. The Swedish company 3DVerkstan has therefore developed a new design for holders for protective visors, which have been approved by healthcare services.

"When that design came, we could start manufacturing protective visors here at Curiosum," says Magnus Lindgren, research engineer at Curiosum and head of the workshop for digital technology manufacturing. "At the same time, Umeå Municipality contacted us and wanted to help with the 3D printing of visor holders, and it feels very good to be able to contribute something in this situation."

In Umeå Municipality, there is a shortage of protective equipment in areas such as elderly care, disability care and in nursing homes.

"In addition to visor holders and transparency film for the holders, it is above all disposable medical aprons, disposable laboratory coats and face masks that are in the highest demand," says Jeanette Eriksson, secretary of the social services office at Umeå Municipality.

Many are willing to help

Umeå Municipality has now asked Curiosum to manufacture 1,000 visor holders. Since 3D printing takes a long time – between 30 and 90 minutes depending on the printer – Magnus Lindgren has developed a more effective production method.

"We are currently cutting out visor holders using waterjet cutters," says Magnus Lindgren. "This has allowed us to produce the visor holders in about 30 seconds. We manufacture them in PETG (Polyethylene terephthalate glycol) plastic, a material that is particularly suitable for healthcare. It is tough, difficult to break off, can be sterilised and is also consumer approved.”

When the visor holders are manufactured, they will be delivered to Umeå Municipality, which will supplement the holders with transparency film. Their willingness to help has been exceptional – several people with 3D printers at home have contributed to the production, and other units at Umeå University are in the starting blocks to start manufacturing holders. Umeå Municipality expresses great appreciation for the help.

"The support is absolutely invaluable, because we find it difficult to solve this on our own, " says Jeanette Eriksson. "It is a great glimmer of light how the community has come together in a time of crisis like this and trying to find solutions together. I cannot find the words to express the gratitude I feel, towards Curiosum and everyone else who is contributing."

If more people want to contribute with visors, transparency film or other protective equipment, Umeå Municipality gladly accepts all the support that can be given.

Contribute with equipment to healthcare institutions

If you wish to contribute with visors, mouth covers or other protective equipment to health care and geriatric care, please find out more on the Umeå municipality web site and contact Umeå Municipality on skyddsutrustning@umea.se.

Create your own 3D printed holders for protective visorsby downloading files and instructions: www.faceshield.nu.

For other queries, please contact:

Jeanette Eriksson, Secretary, Social Services Office, Umeå Municipality E-post: jeanette.eriksson@umea.se

Magnus Lindgren, Research Engineer, Curiosum
E-mail: magnus.lindgren01@umu.se 

Eva Lönn, Communications Officer, Curiosum
E-mail: eva.lonn@umu.se