Luxury carmaker Aston Martin is providing personal protective equipment to frontline NHS workers.
It is working on a new respiratory protection device, protective visors and gowns for intensive care staff treating Covid-19 patients.
An extra layer of protection is needed during the hazardous intubation and extubation process, so together with project partner Multimatic, Aston Martin is helping the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) to refine and produce a new one-piece perspex intubation shield that goes over a patient’s upper body and protects medical staff while also giving them the access they need.
These boxes can then be stacked, meaning they take up less room in busy intensive care wards. Crucially, it also means the MTC can deliver the boxes at the rate the NHS needs.
In addition, Aston Martin is using its state-of-the-art cutting machines at Gaydon – more used to forming intricate leather shapes for sports car interiors – to create the silicone components used in the assembly of the box. This new design has been turned around in a matter of days and is now being tested at the Royal London Hospital.
Aston Martin Lagonda president and group chief executive Andy Palmer said: ‘The local community is very important to Aston Martin so we are delighted to be able to help our local hospitals. The frontline NHS workers are protecting us from Covid-19 so we want to do what we can and try to protect them by supplying visors and gowns.
‘Times of crisis are also times of great innovation and we are delighted to be working with Multimatic and the MTC to produce the intubation shield for the intensive care staff. Everyone we approached stepped up without hesitation and they should all be proud.’
Multimatic chief technical officer Larry Holt said: ‘We were happy to be asked and happy to help with this critical project. Aston Martin and Multimatic have a history of achieving seemingly impossible goals together in the automotive world, and this is just that partnership being extended to help the MTC deliver an extremely important, innovative new medical device. We are proud to be involved.’
MTC chief executive Clive Hickman said: ‘It is heartening to see the response we had from Aston Martin and Multimatic. To be able to put the sharpest minds and the best technology together to move this project forward at a rapid rate is testament to the British manufacturing industry.’
Additionally, using the latest 3D printing technology, the carmaker will soon be producing 150 protective visors each week. Aston Martin’s design team are working with Warwick Hospital to develop a visor that meets NHS infection control guidelines.
Meanwhile, volunteer technicians and staff at the brand’s Newport Pagnell heritage home, Aston Martin Works, are offering free labour on emergency vehicle repairs to NHS staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital, with the NHS staff paying a discounted price for the parts.