9 April 2020, Gaydon, UK: Aston Martin has joined the campaign to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline NHS workers during the Coronavirus crisis. The British luxury carmaker is working on a new respiratory protection device, protective visors and gowns.
One of the most hazardous procedures for intensive care staff treating Covid-19 patients is the intubation and extubation process so an extra layer of protection during respiratory procedures has been sought.
Working with its project partner, Multimatic, Aston Martin is helping the MTC (Manufacturing Technology Centre) to refine and produce a new respiratory protection device. This intubation shield is in simple terms a Perspex box that goes over a patient’s upper body during procedures, protecting the medical staff but also allowing them the access they need to the patient.
Aston Martin and Multimatic have assisted the MTC by designing and creating a tool so that the Perspex component can be made in one piece, which then allows the boxes to be stacked, taking up less room in busy intensive care wards. Crucially, it also means that the MTC can deliver the boxes at the rate now required by the NHS. Aston Martin is also utilising the state of the art cutting machines at Gaydon, normally used to cut out intricate leather shapes for sports car interiors, to cut out the silicone components that are used in the assembly of the box.
This brand new design has been turned around in a matter of days and is now being trialled at the Royal London Hospital.
Aston Martin Lagonda President and Group Chief Executive, Andy Palmer, said: “The local community is very important to Aston Martin so we are delighted to be able to help our local hospitals. The frontline NHS workers are protecting us from Covid-19 so we want to do what we can to try to protect them by supplying visors and gowns. Times of crisis are also times of great innovation and we are delighted to be working with Multimatic and the MTC to produce the intubation shield for the intensive care staff. Everyone we approached stepped up without hesitation and they should all be proud.”
Multimatic’s Chief Technical Officer, Larry Holt, said: “We were happy to be asked and happy to help with this critical project. Aston Martin and Multimatic have a history of achieving seemingly impossible goals together in the automotive world and this is just that partnership being extended to help the MTC deliver an extremely important, innovative new medical device. We are proud to be involved.”
Chief Executive of the MTC, Clive Hickman said: “It is heartening to see the response we had from Aston Martin and Multimatic. To be able to put the sharpest minds and the best technology together to move this project forward at a rapid rate is testament to the British manufacturing industry.”
Additionally, using the latest 3D printing technology, the British luxury carmaker will soon be producing 150 protective visors each week. The Aston Martin Design team are working with local Warwick Hospital to develop a protective visor that meets the NHS infection control guidelines. The first batch will hopefully go into production next week and will be assembled in the Aston Martin Design Studio at Gaydon by volunteer staff who are meticulously abiding by the Government’s social distancing guidelines. The first delivery will be loaded into Aston Martin’s most practical car, DBX to be delivered straight after Easter.
Aston Martin received a direct request for protective gowns from the procurement departments of hospitals local to its headquarters in Warwickshire. After sourcing suitable materials, the company has submitted a sample gown to the NHS with a view to starting production next week. With the people power to produce up to 750 gowns each week (subject to material availability) at Aston Martin’s headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, the company hopes to make a real difference to the frontline workers in local hospitals as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, volunteer technicians and back office staff at Aston Martin Works, the heritage home of the brand in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, are running a scheme to offer emergency vehicle repairs to NHS staff at the nearby Milton Keynes University Hospital.
The free service, launched at the end of March, is currently averaging around two emergency repairs per day with typical problems ranging from punctures and issues triggering dashboard warning lights to brake pad replacements. The NHS staff using the service simply pay for any required parts, sourced at significantly discounted rates from local parts suppliers.
Paul Spires, President of Aston Martin Works, explains: “At this critical time for the NHS, we want to try to do our bit to keep the vital key workers of Milton Keynes hospital on the road if we possibly can.
“All the Works team members involved in the project are offering their skills on a voluntary basis, and they are thrilled to be able to give something back to the NHS at this time of unprecedented pressure on hospital staff.”