The Royal Mint is to manufacture up to 4,000 medical visors per day to help protect NHS staff from coronavirus.
Engineers developed a successful prototype in 48 hours and the first visors are already in use at a hospital in Wales.
Since news of the visor production emerged, the Royal Mint has received requests to supply hospitals across the UK.
Production is now moving to 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Royal Mint’s site in Llantrisant, south Wales.
A total of 750 visors were made on Saturday and the team is aiming to increase this to 4,000 per 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 said engineers at the site, used to working on coins and related machinery, created the first design within seven hours.
They then outlined the materials required to produce the visors and designed the component parts.
The Royal Mint worked with its supply chain in the UK to source the materials so final prototypes could be made for the NHS to review.
Approval came within 48 hours of the company beginning work on the visors.
“We are already an fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer so a lot of the techniques could be easily transferred,” the spokeswoman said.
“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 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 visors are already in use at the nearby Royal Glamorgan Hospital.
Companies including Brammer, TJ Morgan and Technical Foam Services have worked with the Royal Mint to source the components needed.
Thank you Royal Mint!Cwm Taf Morgannwg would like to say thanks to the Royal Mint as the organisation starts to mass manufacture medical visors for the NHS to support the response to COVID19.https://t.co/yTcbLGOJZo
— Cwm Taf Morgannwg UHB (@CwmTafMorgannwg) March 27, 2020
Huw Davies, clinical director for anaesthetics at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital, said staff were “really grateful” for the 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 thanked the Royal Mint for their contribution.
“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,” she said.
The Royal Mint is appealing for manufacturers across the UK to help source 1.0mm clear plastic, which is currently in low supply.
Anyone who can help should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.