April 23, 2020
On the initiative of the German plastics machinery manufacturer Arburg, the Swiss specialty chemicals group Ems-Chemie, the German safety eyewear manufacturer Uvex and Arburg have been considering how they can provide quick help to rescue services, hospitals and medical personnel in the current situation.
The companies are moving to produce protective goggles to protect the eye and conjunctiva tissue from contamination, intended for specialist personnel such as doctors, nurses and emergency responders.
Dr. Thomas Walther, head of Application Technology at Arburg, received a “call for help” from a doctor at the hospital in Rottweil in late March. She had heard that, at a trade fair, Arburg had produced protective goggles that she and her colleagues urgently need and asked if he could help her.
“Whatever we can do in the current situation to help with our know-how and our capacities as one of the world's largest manufacturers of plastics processing machines, we will put it into action quickly,” says Gerhard Böhm, managing director of sales, Arburg.
Partnership between Ems, Uvex and Arburg
Regarding the protective goggles, with some coordination measures between the three companies, which had already been working together as partners for some time, these articles could be produced at Arburg in relevant quantities and with relatively little effort.
“Because all three partners know what plastics can do, especially in medical technology. With our campaign, we are making sure that arising bottlenecks are immediately remedied. And this is for the benefit of many of the helpers who are now particularly important,” says Böhm.
After Ems had agreed to the use of the tools and Uvex was willing to make the goggles usable for the new application by means of a quick certification, Arburg set up the production system with removal robot in the new training centre in Lossburg. That's where, from the week before Easter, the goggles are mass-produced in a simplified injection molding process, they come out of the machine ready to use. They are then packed individually with safety and information data sheets in tubular film bags by hand for final distribution.
The material for the first batch of goggles, around 500 kg of transparent Grilamid TR (PA12), is provided free of charge by the material manufacturer Ems-Chemie from Domat in Switzerland—help with an European dimension.
Protective Goggles Ready to Wear
The goggles are produced in one piece on an electric Allrounder 570 A with a closing force of 2,000 kN and Gestica control in a cycle time of around 50 seconds. Handling and depositing are carried out by a six-axis robot. Bad parts are sorted out and good parts are deposited on a cooling station. The packaging is done downstream by hand.
Distribution Through Official Channels
The cooperation partners Arburg and Ems-Chemie share the first 20,000 pairs of protective goggles and, according to Magdalena Martullo, CEO and main shareholder of EMS, distribute them free of charge via official channels to hospitals, nursing homes and civil defense organizations in Germany and Switzerland.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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