Help for front-line workers

Liniar has developed a new supply chain while its extrusion facility is temporarily closed: producing protective face visors for front-line workers during the Covid-19 crisis.

While most of the workforce was furloughed, with a skeleton team working from home, discussions turned to ways in which the company could help. Social media highlighted how NHS staff, care workers, nursing homes and many others were in desperate need of PPE (personal protective equipment) which was in short supply, and Liniar had a 3D printer sitting in a now-empty office in Derbyshire.

Liniar’s design team, led by design and development director Chris Armes, began to trial designs for a 3D printed visor, made up of a medical-grade headband and a simple A4 acetate sheet which would be slotted in. The final design chosen was ergonomic, comfortable for the user to wear, and would allow a full range of movement while fitting over the top of masks and glasses.

The design team volunteered to take turns working in four-hour shifts, day and night, to man the printer while it slowly churned out the visors. In the meantime, discussions were taking place about procuring an injection moulding tool, which would enable the team to mass-produce the visors for as long as they were needed.

Once costed, Liniar immediately authorised the £20k investment, the tool was ordered and a production, packing and logistics process was put into place to distribute the visors to those contacting Liniar. Furloughed employees volunteered to come into a carefully planned, socially distanced environment at Liniar House in order to make this happen.

Liniar’s protective visors are being provided free of charge to front line and key workers. Customers or others wishing to purchase visors for their own operations will be charged cost price, plus a small donation equivalent to Liniar’s donation to enable the company to continue to supply FOC to front line services.

“Once we saw the need out there, we immediately started looking for ways we could help our key workers,” Chris said. “With a workforce of more than 500, many of our employees have relatives working for the NHS, in care homes and on the front line, and we wanted to support them in the first instance.

“It feels great to be part of such a proactive company. As soon as I highlighted the fact we could massively increase production by ordering a new tool, the expenditure was authorised. Our flat structure and constant communication meant we could put everything in place as swiftly as possible in order to be up and running with minimal delays.

“I’d also like to thank everyone who’s giving up their time to make such a positive difference to those who need it most at this critical time. We’re all proud of you.”

Full production of up to 3,000 visors per day should commence on April 27. Email for details.

Liniar is also helping the NHS through a JustGiving page. The company has donated a raffle prize of £1,000-worth of products, which you can win by donating a minimum of £10. The more you donate, the more chances you have to win.