Manufacturing

Published: April 10, 2020 | Updated: April 10, 2020

Full speed ahead: Company deploys 3D printer ‘farm’ for 5,000 urgently needed face visors

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A businessman who’s built up a 60-strong 3D printer ‘farm’ is to start producing up to 5,000 face visors from this week on a not-for-profit basis.

Leon Lindblad says the immediate priority will be local care homes that have been desperately trying to source Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) but without success.

The Founder and Managing Director of CFA Trading, pictured left, has joined forces with Candice McGowan, owner of Surrey-based B3D Creative, to launch the initiative.

He’s also in contact with engineering companies with injection moulding facilities, capable of creating an aluminium mould.

“Once that happens we’ll be able to produce face visors in the hundreds of thousands,” Leon said.

Poole-based CFA Trading, which is the largest Microsoft authorised refurbisher in the UK and Europe, is providing its equipment and staff time free of charge.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for anyone wishing to contribute towards the cost of materials.

To continue producing thousands of visors to meet the demand for the NHS and other key workers, more than £3,000 will be required a week to keep production running.

Leon said: “This is a not-for-profit venture and we’re not making any money off this.

“However, this is exactly what 3D printers are made for and it’s good to be able to help.

“We’ll be using our own plastic filament and also buying in stocks as we gear up production.

“There is a desperate, and urgent, need for face visors and other PPE equipment, especially for local care homes.

Maz Nabulsi with a 3D printer.

“The government’s latest guidance is that they should accept people with COVID-19 from hospital but some are finding it impossible to get PPE.

“Our actions are really a stop-gap solution until PPE supplies are flowing and readily available.”

Leon added that any surplus from GoFundMe appeal funds would be used to pay for PPE equipment, sourced through his contacts at cost price.

He was also arranging for CFA Trading’s own PPE stocks, including 1,000 face visors, 1,000 gloves and  500 bottles of hand sanitiser to be made available.

CFA Trading was founded by Leon, and his wife, Joanna, in 2004.

The company employs 50 people and has an £8m annual turnover.

Leon has become a leading advocate of recycling plastic.

In January CFA Trading hit the headlines after making its debut appearance at the Bett Show at London’s Excel with a trade stand made entirely of 100 per cent recycled plastic.

He has called on other businesses to take up the cause using the catchy  message “It doesn’t cost the earth to save the planet.”