17TH APRIL 2020
The Hero Shield project is run by a consortium of companies who have lent their expertise to help produce much-needed PPE for Northern Ireland.
Lisburn-based company Ad- Vance Engineering is one of the companies heavily involved with the production of the visor, and we spoke to Roger Vance, Managing Director at Ad- Vance, about the project.
Vance said: “There’s been a number of companies involved in the design of the Hero Shield, which initially started with a company called Shnuggle, who make baby products. They were very interested in doing something to help out the NHS, and so we got together with a group of companies, and designed the product.”
“What we wanted was to be able to provide this to the health services free of charge, so the money for development and manufacture has been raised through crowdfunding.”
“We’ve also got a team of couriers delivering free of charge as well. They come in every day and load up with visors, and then they’re delivered to NHS employees, health trusts, and anyone else in Northern Ireland who needs them.”
The headbands are injection moulded, with the visor being cut from PET, and the development has shown how vital injection moulding can be for such urgent and vital projects.
Vance said: “We’re currently injection moulding a face visor in 12 seconds so the cost per unit is down to around 12 to 15p.”
“We can put this together very quickly and economically, and can produce volume to market without excessive labour costs.”
The project has evolved over the weeks and has seen Ad- Vance contracted by electrical goods supplier GlenDimplex, to increase its level of production.
“We’re GlenDimplex’s tooling supplier, as they’re looking at bringing the visor into mass production, as they’ve got the capacity to cope with high-volume demand.”
“It gives us the potential to plan for the long term. Obviously we don’t know how long the pandemic is going to last, but if it is a long term scenario then this gives us the potential to mass produce this visor for up to two years.”
“I don’t think anyone is talking about mass producing visors at the volumes we’re talking about with GlenDimplex, which would be around 28,000 per day. This will be helped by robot systems and conveyors, and of course we’re involved with the tooling side of things.”