Students supply staff in the west with visors

​Companies and private individuals are joining forces to meet the urgent need for personal protective equipment in the healthcare system and in care for the elderly provided by the municipalities. Right now students at Chalmers are coordinating the supply of extra face visors for all of Western Sweden. In the first week the healthcare assistance group at Chalmers, Sjukvårdshjälpen, supplied 2,500 face visors. More are being made this week.
​​Two weeks ago Isak Jonsson, a research engineer at the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences, saw how 3DVerkstan in Stockholm had produced drawings of printed frames. Combining this with standard overhead film, they created a face visor approved for use in healthcare. 

Jonsson contacted 3Dteamet, the 3D printing team in the Physics Building – twelve students with the ability to put them into rapid production. Edward Hadziavdic and Marcus Toftås got their group in the Physics laboratory going, with the full support of Lars Hellberg, who is responsible for the Physics Department’s experimental laboratory where much of the equipment is located. Meanwhile Jonsson adjusted the design, making it more robust and more suitable for manufacture and added a support so that it would fit staff with different head sizes. 3Dteamet rewrote the code that everyone is now using.

On Sunday 29 March Chalmers made an initial test shipment of 230 visors to hospitals in Western Sweden.

“The region got in touch on Monday and asked us to continue with production of the approved design. We don’t have the capacity to manufacture 100,000, which is what they really need, according to Region Västra Götaland (VGR),” says Hadziavdic, who is now VGR’s contact for the visors and who is coordinating all the new volunteers that offer their services to help tackle the lack of visors in the short term. 

VGR uploaded a direct link to the Chalmers’ team on its website, for anyone who was interested in contributing via their own production. Every day has brought streams of new producers. Toftås rapidly became the ‘production manager’ and is handling the logistics from private producers, other workshops at Chalmers and large industrial companies. 

“Right now we are gathering everything in our laboratory in the Physics Building which is where VGR brings trucks to make collections several times a week,” says Toftås.

Now on the ninth delivery day, VGR has received a total of 2,500 visors from Chalmers, and just as many are in progress or already completed and awaiting collection.

“We are incredibly grateful for all the hard work that all the volunteers have put in. It is very much appreciated,” says Jonas Anselmby who is coordinating external suppliers in Region Västra Götaland during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Chalmers appointed a contact for VGR early on in order to help coordinate donations of the personal protective equipment that may be required. In addition to visors, Chalmers has sent lab coats and produced hand sanitiser, mainly from the Chemistry Department. So far several hundred litres of hand sanitiser have been dispatched. 

“A dialogue in currently under way to find out how we can help with other items. I am convinced we can do a lot more than visors,” says Jan Froitzheim, Associate Professor of Chemistry, who is coordinating Sjukvårdshjälpen from Chalmers.

But visors are what VGR has asked Chalmers to address urgently at the moment, and that is what is being delivered.

“The last few days have been devoted to making contact with and coordinating across producers. We’re currently working with the majority of manufacturers in Västra Götaland and there are around 250 different producers involved, 50 of which are companies. In addition, we have numerous collaborations under way with further interested parties. This includes everything from the labs here at Chalmers, private individuals and laid-off workers, small companies and larger ones such as both Volvo companies,” says Haziavdic.

Last Thursday a link was established with the group Visor Aid Göteborg, launched by Fredrik Säfsten, which focuses on deliveries to the City of Gothenburg. All production is now being channelled though VGR which has overall regional responsibility for coordinating resources for the municipalities of Western Sweden in connection with the epidemic. 

VGR is of course responsible for the cleanliness of the equipment used, but Sjukvårdshjälpen is trying to assist by adopting strict procedures, cleaning and disinfection, and using sealed packages, before delivering the items.

“So many people are currently making a heroic effort in a short time frame. But, in parallel with this, we have passed on contacts to VGR to get started with the industrial production of larger volumes in the near future, by working with suitable companies,” says Froitzheim.

Text: Christian Borg

The following are currently providing assistance in producing visors

Around 250 companies and home-based manufacturers are currently involved. At Chalmers the following producers have been mobilised:

Would you also like to help?

Region Västra Götaland provides a comprehensive Help page setting out how they can accept help here:

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Published: Thu 04 Jun 2020.