Sonobex react to PPE shortage armed with eight 3D printers

The team at Sonobex armed with eight 3D printers, have joined in a nationwide effort to produce more PPE face shields for the NHS.

Sonobex have shifted focus of our 8 x Creality CR-10S 3D printers away from producing prototypes of our Acoustic Metamaterial-based noise control solutions to the manufacture of Protective Face Visor Equipment for key frontline workers.

The Sonobex team was keen to use our own resources and expertise to help in any possible way to respond to the widely reported shortage of much-needed PPE.

Dr Daniel Elford, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Sonobex said “Within a week, after research into the best face visor designs and optimising printer settings for our in-house 3D printer setup, the Sonobex team had printed and assembled the first batch of 135 face visors.

We are now capable of producing 24 units per hour of full-face protective visors, based on a design by 3DVerkstan in Stockholm, Sweden. The Verkstan masks have a simple, efficient design which can be made from easily sourced components. We hope our efforts go some way to help address the shortage of PPE in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic”.

The Verkstan face visor design had the following design goals in mind:

  • Using readily available plastic sheets with as little modification as possible, and only common tools used.
  • All features printable with nozzle sizes up to 1mm and layer heights up to 0.5mm 
  • Drip protection above the eyes
  • Printable in less than 20 minutes
  • No tight tolerances requiring well-tuned printers.
  • Design that works equally well with most common materials (PLA, CPE, PETG, ABS etc.)

The Verkstan design has also been approved by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the U.S for use in clinical settings.

The face visors will now be distributed to NHS Trusts across the UK, to hospitals, GP practices and social care organisations helping protect frontline staff who are treating COVID-19 patients.

With supply chains breaking all over the world due to high demand, panic buying and other limitations, 3D printers now have even greater impact with time-to-market; to manufacture locally and fill the gaps where traditional supply chains fail.

We're proud to be doing our small part by helping out with the fight against Covid-19 outbreak and supporting the NHS.