MTC develops lightweight PPE face visor to protect NHS staff.

State-of-the-Art Cutting Technology Produces 1000s of Visors.

Manufacturing experts at the Coventry-based Manufacturing Technology Centre have developed a fast-make lightweight face visor to protect front line NHS staff. The visor went from design to full production in just five days.

Now the MTC has teamed up with Staffordshire cutting machine specialists Swift-Cut Automation to use advanced waterjet-cutting technology to speed up production even more, allowing thousands of the visors to be supplied to the NHS free of charge.

Engineers at the MTC were able to design, prototype, get user approval and go into production of the new visor in just a few days, using laser-cutting technology. More than 2,500 visors were delivered to NHS sites. However, the MTC team wanted to expand and speed-up production, so they turned to Burton-on-Trent based Swift-Cut, who were able to cut the face visor using an advanced waterjet cutting machine.

MTC research engineer Harmail Sandhu said the MTC-produced visors were not only protective, but were comfortable and light compared to feedback from existing face visors.

“We wanted to expand the manufacturing options of the face visor beyond the constraints of laser cutting. We turned to Swift-Cut who produced the face visor on an advanced waterjet machine with excellent results,” he said.

Phil Camp, managing director of Swift-Cut Automation said, “We immediately accepted the challenge from the MTC and within a matter of hours were able to turn the idea into reality. A prototype polypropylene frame was quickly produced on our SwiftJET machine and submitted for approval. After an initial supply of 1,000 visors within an extremely aggressive timeframe, we have gone on to produce a further 5,000, thanks to the MTC and our suppliers.”
Highly versatile waterjet cutting machines have become an essential piece of equipment for businesses operating in a range of sectors. They can process a wide range of materials from rubber, foam and gasket materials to metals and ceramics, combining accuracy and fast set-up times with fast cutting with no heat generation or change in material properties.

The MTC was founded by the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, the University of Nottingham and TWI Ltd. The MTC’s industrial members include some of the UK’s major global manufacturers.

The MTC aims to provide a competitive environment to bridge the gap between university-based research and the development of innovative manufacturing solutions, in line with the Government’s manufacturing strategy. The MTC is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, supported by Innovate UK.

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