Complete production chain is set up for face shields

Within a very short space of time, IKV succeeded in setting up a complete production chain for face shields. The face shields were distributed free of charge to hospitals, care homes, doctors' surgeries and other medical institutions.

By the end of April, 10,000 face shields had been produced and distributed to medical personnel / Photo: IKV

In cooperation with a number of sponsors* from the IKV network, IKV is supporting health workers with the supply of visors that are otherwise often difficult to obtain. The Institute is thus making a valuable contribution to beating the coronavirus and, at the same time, is gathering a great deal of practical experience in the short-term setting-up of a production line.

By the end of April, a total of 10,000 face shields had been produced. Initially, additive manufacturing was used to produce prototypes and design variants for clinical tests, but the team was able within a few days to switch to producing the components by injection moulding – thanks to its CNC milling machine for manufacturing the mould inserts. The part concept is based on an open-source solution for the 3D printing, but this was adapted for the injection moulding production in a mould insert for an existing interchangeable mould in line with the available installation space, the possible ejector positions and the cooling channels. Here, the open-source solution was supplemented by gating points for a 3-point head strap and a fixing hook for a safer hold of more stable visors. In parallel with this, an extrusion machine was modified for the film production, because the plastic film for the protective visors was also sometimes in very short supply on the market.

The wide range of research at IKV and the Institute's excellent industry network made it possible to develop and build a production facility on this scale. A big thankyou goes to the commitment and flexibility of our staff and students, who worked untiringly in shifts in the technical service laboratories.

*We would like to thank the companies Sabic, Covestro, Albis, A.Schulmann/LyondellBasell and Reifenhäuser for providing us with material, and also our research partners, Arburg, Demag, Reifenhäuser and Yizumi for use of the respective machine technology.

Contact partner for questions about the project

Dipl.-Ing. Mauritius Schmitz
Tel.: +49 241 80-93881