Nissan Factory New Hub For NHS PPE Distribution In Fight Against Coronavirus
Nissan has turned its Sunderland factory into a PPE distribution site to help deliver thousands of protective equipment to frontline NHS workers.
Apr 22, 2020
Car giant Nissan becomes the next in automotive to switch out car parts for life-saving wearable plastic. Its Sunderland plant is the base for a huge new project set to assemble and distribute thousands of protective face visors to frontline staff in the NHS.
Inspired by the Grilli brothers, the project aims to supply up to 100,000 face visors to our healthcare system each week. Two of the four brothers, Anthony and Chris Grilli, are engineers at Nissan’s Technical Centre in Bedfordshire.
The Grilli brothers set up a crowdfunding page online to kick start the project and worked out of their homes with banks of 3D printers before Nissan provided its Sunderland space.
Anthony Grilli, Nissan Engineer, shared: "We had the ability to support the national effort to produce more PPE for frontline health workers and we just had to help. We quickly mobilised to produce parts using our 3D-printing capability at home and we’re grateful to everyone that donated through our crowdfunding site to help us get this going."
Now the brothers are joined by several volunteers who strengthen the assembly line and churn out thousands of protective face visors a week – over 77,000 visors were supplied to the NHS in the first week of production and workers have planned to deliver as many as 100,000 each week here on out.
The protective face visor a piece of equipment being used as a shield against Covid-19 and offers additional protection to NHS workers. It’s made up of three parts: a transparent visor which covers the face, a frame that shapes the visor and an elastic headband used to wear the piece of equipment.
These three parts are sent to the Nissan plant where they are flat packed into a ‘ready to assemble’ format before being shipped off to an NHS procurement centre.
This process has been requested by the NHS to minimise any risk of the visors being crushed or damaged during transit as well as ensuring maximum volume can be dispatched when ready to be delivered.
Adam Pennick, Nissan Motor Manufacturing (UK) Production Director, said: “It’s great to be able to play our part in helping to provide the NHS with these visors. Our people are experts in the logistics behind an effective supply chain, and we certainly weren’t short of volunteers for this project.”
Behind the scenes, the Grilli brothers continue to print 3D face visors to supply to local health and care facilities as well as hospices. Emily Grilli, Crowdfunder and wife of Chris Grilli, writes:
“The NHS is currently facing a severe shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, exacerbated by the interruption of supply chains from China.
In the coming weeks, it is predicted that these healthcare workers will be seeing thousands of sufferers of COVID 19, exposing themselves to high loads of the virus and putting themselves at risk (over 10% of healthcare workers have COVID in Italy and to date 43 doctors have perished from this awful disease).
An essential piece of PPE is the universal face visor which is now part of the WHO & PHE recommended kit for examining these patients. Wearing this can significantly lower the risk of transmission and lower exposure to large volumes of the virus.”
She adds: “As employees of Nissan, Anthony and Christopher decided to approach their employer to see if they could help in any way. Nissan Manufacturing were immediately keen to do what they could, and soon offered to pay for the injection moulding tool! Not only this, but they offered to collect the parts from our three suppliers and take care of all the packaging too, at no cost.”
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