Coronavirus: Bindatex, Stratasys & ANT Telecom join the fight24 March 2020

Pictured: Bindatex die cutting ventilator discs

Composites and advanced materials precision slitting company Bindatex, 3D printing technology specialist Stratasys and automated communications specialist ANT Telecom are among the latest companies to join the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bindatex, based in Bolton, UK, has reconfigured its production to begin die cutting discs for filters to assist with the urgent production of life-saving ventilators for the NHS. The move comes following a call from the UK government for manufacturers to assist in the urgent capacity of ventilators.

MD Chris Lever says that the firm has “immediately started work with customers in order to manufacture these life-saving ventilators”. At present, Bindatex is working with its customers, manufacturing the parts, but says that it is also able to support other manufacturers by providing the filters.

The company has also brought in emergency plans, in order to maintain high levels of health and safety for employees during the pandemic. In a letter to partners and employees, Lever explains that the company has “implemented the government’s recommendations” and come up with a few of its own.

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While the company has pledged a section of its workforce, production capacity and machinery to the production of ventilators to fight this virus, Bindatex is also still delivering for its usual customers, by increasing its production rate.

Lever concludes: “As production ramps up for the essential parts for these ventilators, we have added extra capacity to fulfil current orders whilst this emergency work continues. We will continue to support manufacturing of ventilators during these unprecedented times.”

Additive manufacturing firm Stratasys has also announced a global mobilisation of the company’s 3D printing resources and expertise to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, spanning its Stratasys, GrabCAD, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and partner network, with donated printing capacity across all regions. The initial focus is on providing thousands of disposable face shields for use by medical personnel.

In the United States, Stratasys has set an initial goal of producing 5,000 face shields by 27 March at no cost to the recipients. This includes both a 3D-printed frame and a clear plastic shield that covers the entire face. The company is also exploring how to roll this out in Europe, with the ability to scale to an even faster rate of production.

Stratasys and its partners are producing several thousand face shields with 3D-printed plastic frames
Stratasys and its partners are producing
face shields with 3D-printed plastic frames

Any 3D printing shop that wishes to help print plastic frames, can fill out an online form to be invited to join the effort. The company is also posting the full face shield printing and assembly instructions by on its Covid-19 response page.

“We are humbled by the opportunity to help. We see additive manufacturing as an essential part of the response to the Covid-19 global epidemic,” says Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif. “The strengths of 3D printing – be anywhere, print virtually anything, adapt on the fly – make it a capability for helping address shortages of parts related to shields, masks, and ventilators, among other things. Our workforce and partners are prepared to work around the clock to meet the need for 3D printers, materials, including biocompatible materials, and 3D-printed parts.”

ANT Telecom, meanwhile, has announced free availability of automated monitoring service Aspect247 to safeguard employees. Aspect247 is said to be a fully automated monitoring system that employers can use to keep lone workers safe.

Given the rapid announcement of the government's advice regarding Covid-19, many employers would not have had time to do the standard health and safety checks to ensure a safe home-working environment, let alone trial any form of employee monitoring or sign-in service, the firm says.

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It adds that many companies use manual processes to monitor or check on remote workers’ well-being and the onus is on the employee or manager to initiate contact regularly.

Klaus Allion, MD at ANT Telecom, comments: “Employees need peace of mind that in the event of an incident happening when they are working from home, with little to no peer supervision or support, that they will be protected. And employers need to ensure that they are upholding their duty of care for their employees, with a solution that’s quick and simple to deploy, easy to use, and reliable in terms of alerting the right people so that the right help is available and any issues escalated – fast.”

Manufacturers interested in helping out are urged to contact the BEIS Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565 or to visit the BEIS website.

Adam Offord

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