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Royal Mint to manufacture 4,000 medical visors a day for NHS staff
28 March 2020, 18:56
The Royal Mint will manufacture 4,000 medical visors every day to help protect NHS staff in the battle against coronavirus.
Engineers at the coin-producer developed a successful prototype in just 48 hours, with some visors already in use at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital in Wales.
Since the Royal Mint confirmed it would be producing the visors, the organisation has been inundated with requests to supply various hospitals across the UK.
The Royal Mint's site in Llantrisant, South Wales, is now moving its production to 24 hours a day, seven days a week in a bid to better equip hospitals in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 750 visors were manufactured on Saturday and now the team is aiming to increase these numbers to 4,000 a day from Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Mint said: "We have received requests from NHS trusts and hospitals across the country since we announced yesterday. We have increased production, as a result, to help as many as possible."
She also said that engineers based at the site who are used to working on coins managed to create the first design in just seven hours.
They then outlined the materials required to produce the visors and designed the component parts.
The organisation worked with its supply chain in the UK to source the materials for the NHS to review final prototypes.
Approval of the products came within 48 hours of the Royal Mint beginning work on the visors.
The spokeswoman added: "We are already a fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer so a lot of the techniques could be easily transferred.
"We use anti-static washing to ensure coins are in 'mint condition'. This same technology ensures the visors are free of debris.
"To develop new products we use cellular manufacturing techniques - enabling one person to make a product from beginning to end - and we're using the same techniques here to speed up the production of visors.
"Our experience in FMCG means we could also set up a production line with assembly, packaging, quality checking and dispatching within a few hours."
The Royal Mint is working with other companies including Brammer, TJ Morgan and Technical Foam Services to source the components needed for the visors.
Clinical director for anaesthetics at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, Huw Davies said staff were "really grateful" for the new visors.
"It was actually quite emotional for our teams when they came in and offered their support and expertise to us to help keep us safe," he said.
"It is a great example of collaboration and a real goodwill gesture from their team."
Dr Sharon Hopkins, the chief executive of Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board, also expressed her appreciation for the Royal Mint.
She said: "This equipment will be vitally important for our frontline staff to protect themselves and others as they work to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic."
The Royal Mint is currently appealing for manufacturers across the UK to help source 1mm clear plastic, which is currently in low supply.
Anyone who can help should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.