Digger-maker JCB steps up to manufacture personal protective equipment for frontline workers

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Staff at digger-maker JCB have stepped up to help manufacture PPE for frontline workers.

The manufacturer has re-opened part of its Rocester headquarters to allow volunteers to use 3D rapid prototype equipment and produce much-needed medical-grade visors for NHS staff.

Around 50 visors have now been produced on mini production lines which have been set up at JCB’s Innovation Centre.

They are set to be distributed to GP surgeries to Rocester and Uttoxeter.

JCB chief innovation officer Tim Burnhope said: “JCB is delighted to be able to play a role in helping provide the fantastic NHS with protective equipment. The volunteer employees who are part of this amazing effort are also to be commended for stepping up at this time of national crisis.”

The move by JCB comes after principal electronics engineer and father-of-two James Morley – who is usually based at JCB’s World headquarters in Rocester – has converted the garage at his Derbyshire home to produce vital supplies.

To date, the 43-year-old, who lives in Belper near Derby, has made 20 visors after transforming his rapid prototyping machine in the garage from making toys to producing NHS kit.

James Morley set up a mini production line in the garage at his home in Derbyshire

He is now diversifying his domestic production line to make components, which convert snorkelling masks for use with hospital ventilators.

He is also rapid prototyping so-called ‘superhero nurse’ headbands which make face masks more comfortable for medical staff to wear as they fit on the back of the head rather than on to the back of ears.

James said: “While browsing social media on the state of the Covid-19 situation, I was aware that there was a huge shortage of medical grade personal protective equipment for our NHS and other healthcare communities around the UK. It made me dust off my 3D printer and help contribute to the fight against Covid-19 and support our heroic NHS.

“I am glad I can help out and make use of my printer during this national crisis and keep myself active with volunteers during the furlough period. It is amazing what support there is out there and how much people would like to help.”

For Joe Mumby, of Hilton, Derbyshire, volunteering to produce the vital NHS kit has also taken on a poignant significance as he and his family come to terms with the death of his father’s cousin from Coronavirus in the past few days.

Joe said: “Helping with the production of visors is the least I could do as this is a very testing time for everyone, including my own family.

“It’s  fantastic that JCB has given us the opportunity to give something back to those who are the front line of the virus in what must be a very scary time for them.”

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