A group of nine manufacturers, who developed a new recyclable visor to be used in the fight against Covid-19, is celebrating a major milestone in style by securing CE certification for the product.
The Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN), which comprises eight sub-contract specialists and an engineering design agency, has recently supplied its 50,000th manKIND visor and is now looking to double this figure over the next three months.
NHS hospitals, healthcare facilities, charities and a host of commercial organisations have chosen to adopt this form of protection against the virus, benefiting from the easy-to-assemble approach, comfortable fit and the ability to clean and re-use them time and time again.
The CE certification means the visor has been independently clinically tested and approved and is now eligible to be part of the Medilink Midlands ‘Big Ask’ campaign to use West Midlands firms to meet national PPE shortages.
Rowan Crozier, CEO of Brandauer and lead on the MAN project, commented: “Like a lot of companies we wanted to do something to help our frontline staff, so MAN pooled our design, engineering and assembly expertise into creating the manKIND visor.
“Over £30,000 was spent on the tooling, prototyping and manufacture and the first 20,000 were donated to local hospitals, care homes, voluntary organisations and to key workers. After that we’ve been selling them in bulk, business to business on trade account or direct to the consumer via the Brandauer eBay shop and we have seen interest from all over the world.”
He continued: “The CE certification is a big moment for us. We had already got the visors clinically tested, but this stamp of approval is crucial when working directly with some of the biggest companies in the world, not to mention Government’s across the globe.
“We can supply 1 to 5000 off a time, which means it is very flexible for smaller companies and charities. One of our largest purchases was from Make UK, who used the visors to protect their apprentices studying at its dedicated academy in Birmingham.”
All nine MAN companies were involved in the project, with Grove Design coming up with the working prototype and Barkley Plastics using its toolmaking and moulding expertise to create the headband that is critical to the success of the product.
There was no point coming up with a variant of what was already out there, so the collective came up with a visor that is lightweight, easy to assemble with a push clip feature, suitable for repeated use, can be easily cleaned (the headband can even be put in a dishwasher) and includes a full peak for better protection.
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 adults and children.
This, coupled with it fitting neatly into a standard envelope size, means it is optimised for delivery to both large organisations in bulk or directly to the consumer via Ebay.
Rowan went on to add: “The manKIND visor is part of a wider Brandauer approach to supplying crucial PPE, including manufacturing 70 million nose clips per annum for medical face masks across the globe.
“We’ve even successfully secured Innovate UK funding to come up with our own nose clip design and flexible tooling that will support increasing PPE demand and reshoring activities that will generate revenue for UK manufacturing.”
The MAN Group is made up of Alucast, Barkley Plastics, Brandauer, C-MAC SMT, Grove Design, James Lister & Sons, KimberMills, Muller Holdings, and PP Control & Automation and with Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) providing academic expertise, knowledge transfer and access to state-of-the-art technology.
Together, the collective offers a single-source solution to supply chain issues, providing access to castings, contract electronics, design, electrical assembly, forging, hydraulics, injection moulding, machining, PCB manufacture, pneumatics, high volume pressings/stampings and tube manipulation.
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