Cadbury’s 3D printing tech being used to make coronavirus safety kit

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The historic Birmingham home of Cadbury chocolate is now being used to produce parts for vital safety equipment for NHS staff and other frontline workers in the battle against coronavirus.

The factory in Bournville, which was once used to make protective gear and aeroplane parts during the Second World War, is now switching its 3D printing technology from producing chocolate sculptures to visor components.

Cadbury’s owner Mondelēz International has joined forces with Warwick-based engineering company 3P Innovation to help produce hard-plastic bands which connect the top and bottom of the visors.

It has also invested money so 3P Innovation can buy injection mould technology which will mean the visors can be mass produced.

The first visors have already been delivered to a NHS clinic in Warwickshire and the eventual aim is to make and deliver up to 10,000 units per week.

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The move by Cadbury echoes its work during the 1940s when Bournville Utilities was set up to help make gas masks, jerricans, service respirators and aeroplane parts for Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers during the Second World War.

Louise Stigant, UK managing director at Mondelēz International, said: “The NHS and other frontline services are doing an incredible job and we want to support them wherever we can.

“I’m extremely proud that our research and food engineering teams have come up with a creative way to repurpose our chocolate-making skills and technology so we can make and print parts for the medical visors.

“By working in partnership with 3P Innovation and other businesses, we can scale our operations and help protect those who are working so hard to protect us and beat coronavirus.”

3P Innovation is appealing for other manufacturers and businesses with 3D printing technology and logistics services to support the effort so it can continue to make and supply the medical visors.

Tom Bailey, managing director at 3P Innovation, added: “We have now set up the production line and the finished products are on their way to end users.

“Thanks to the generous support from Mondelez, we have purchased an injection moulding tool which is set to make a huge difference to the volumes we can produce.

“We are now looking for ongoing funding which is essential to make sure we can continue to purchase components and run the production lines.”

If your company is able to help, please visit 3P’s dedicated information web page or email nhsvisors@3pinnovation.com for more information

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