Jet Press is working with Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, Multimatic, Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC), and NHS to work on a new Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP) shield.
The company’s Fir Tree Buttons and Plastic Slide Cover Clipsare play a major role in the finished product.
The NHS and many front-line healthcare professionals around the world are infected with the COVID-19 virus. Healthcare professionals need to be nearby during procedures such as intubation and extubation (insertion and removal of breathing tubes).
AGP shields provide a level of protection for your healthcare team. After trials at hospitals such as St Bartholomews, The Royal London Hospital, and Royal Derby Hospital, medical teams are pleased to be able to use them in patients with ventilators. It is also suitable for use in intensive care units and operating rooms. Dentists may also be able to use them.
A computerized computational fluid dynamics (CFD) test of the shield showed that the spread of suspended particles was reduced by almost 90%. The patient’s breathing is condensed inside the shield rather than indoors. This reduces the cleaning time of the area where the treatment is performed. Rolls-Royce and MTC engineers worked closely with the NHS team to develop the first prototype.
Alan Pardoe from Rolls-Royce said: The first prototype of this AGP shield was completed in a week.
After the first trial, Aston Martin engineers and their suppliers, Multimatic, were invited to improve the design. This next iteration was created from polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PET G). This allows the shield to be vacuum formed. It meets the high optical requirements and very strong requirements of the medical team. A silicone sheet above the opening allows the doctor to put his hands and equipment inside the shield. This allows you to care for your patients without being exposed to the virus.
This is how Alampardo explained the challenge to Martin Clitchley, Jet Press’s Group Sales Director.
The design started by using metal nuts and bolts to secure the silicone sheet in place, but the heavy shield makes it difficult to clean, so we are looking for a solution. I also tried to glue the silicone directly to the shield. I tried various plastic fasteners, but unfortunately all current attempts failed for a variety of reasons.
Fasteners should be simple and quick to use, and the inside should be smooth for easy cleaning. Since the shield itself is vacuum formed, the thickness of the material varies, so it must be possible to accommodate different thicknesses of the material. It varies from about 5 mm to 2 mm. It can be disposable, but the main requirement is that it fits snugly once used. Some of the plastic fasteners we tried pulled apart too easily. So when the doctor lifted the shield with the front silicone flap, the clasp popped out. This is clearly not a good solution.
For AGP shields, Fir Tree Buttons are an easy-to-use, reliable, lightweight and cost-effective solution. The problem was that the sharp edge of the Fir Tree button was exposed inside the shield. This can cause the gloves to get caught and difficult to clean. That’s why Critchley combined a fur tree button with a component direct range screw cover clip to create a smooth interior.
This use of furniture fasteners in the medical environment has helped to provide an AGP shield that is strong, easy to clean and stacks neatly.
The final challenge the team faced was how to get the shield back and forth to the hospital. Aston Martin had to loadtest the latest DBX model, so he used shield movement as a load test.
The MTC team still believes it can be improved. They are working on bespoke fir tree buttons and clips that make the manufacturing process easier. Next, Jet Press examines the impact of manufacturing new fastener designs. Once this stage is complete, the AGP is ready for mass production.
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