A team of volunteers from Nissan’s supply chain in Sunderland are helping to ensure hundreds of thousands of protective face visors get to frontline NHS workers.
They have created a parts processing line in the final assembly area to sort thousands of visor parts and pack them in sets of 125 to be shipped straight to the NHS, with more than 77,000 visors leaving the plant by the end of this week and up to 100,000 being distributed every week as of next week.
During the project’s first phase, they received hundreds of boxes of visor parts from volunteers across the country who have been making personal protection equipment (PPE) with their 3D printers.
It was inspired by four brothers from the Grilli family, two of whom, Anthony and Chris, are engineers at Nissan’s Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire. Production initially started with crowdfunding support and banks of 3D printers were pressed into action at the Grillis’ homes.
Anthony said: ‘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.’
Adam Pennick, Nissan’s 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.’
In addition, Nissan has funded an injection-moulding tool to increase the number of parts produced.
The visors comprise an elastic headband, frame and see-through shield. The three elements go to Nissan for packing and are then distributed in a ready-to-assemble format to an NHS procurement centre. The NHS needs them shipped this way to lessen the risk of damage during transit and to ensure that the maximum number can be sent at once.
All four of the Grilli brothers are continuing to 3D-print face visors at home, supplying local care facilities and hospices.