Novel Corona Virus – the invisible killer has affected everyone’s life and hit businesses with a great degree of uncertainty. While precious lives are lost, many are left staring at an abysmal economic slowdown. The virus has spared none, be it a start-up, a mid-sized company or one that is centuries old.
For government machinery and private establishments fighting the virus, PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) becomes vital. Masks, face shields
and similar protective gears are essential to ensure the safety of the front-liners such as doctors, nurses, police, volunteers who put their lives at risk. However, a growing scarcity of these equipment has made the battle tougher, especially keeping hygiene related concerns of the material used in mind.
It is during such dark hours that the brave muster all courage to step up and fight the imminent danger.
RPM Manufacturing Solutions now steps in to lend a helping hand to the government and public’s efforts to stay ahead with protective gears. They’ve understood that the gears and healthcare products are made of plastics and figured out how they could play an important role.
“We’re specialised in developing innovative thermoplastic products as we have a team experienced in healthcare sector”, says Hemantha Kumar N, Co-Founder and Technical Head of RPM Manufacturing Solutions. Having started their new operations in Mysore during late 2019, they did not expect to bring down their factory shutters so soon due to the lockdown.
So they did something extraordinary!
Face shields developed in record time, with 90% lower cost, 200X higher throughput, using renewable material. This is need of the hour as we face an uphill task of handling COVID-19 crisis, with need for protective gears expected to grow exponentially.
Deshiklabs, another Mysuru based start-up approached RPM Manufacturing Solutions with an initial concept to develop face shields. Face shields are required in many thousand units each day. Companies around the world have used 3D printing technology to quickly produce face shields. However, 3D printing technology has limitation around the productivity (being low) and cost (being high).
In order to achieve scale and reduce cost, injection moulding process would be more suitable. However, lead time and cost of product development are usually higher. That is where RPM Manufacturing Solutions was able to add value. They developed the design, mould and the final product in a record time of five days. This is truly commendable as such a task would usually take one to three months.
As a result of switching over from 3D printing to injection moulding, average time taken to make face shield was reduced from 20 minutes to 6 seconds. This also resulted in reduced cost and provided freedom to work with a wide range of materials.
RPM Manufacturing Solutions decided to use Spectalite’s Bio-composite material to improve the social and ecological impact of their product. Spectalite’s Bio-composite material is made from fast-renewable and agri-waste such as bamboo fibers and hence have reduced plastic and carbon footprint.
Considering the social, ecological and economic impact, this is the most sustainable face shield available today!
Hemantha Kumar N, Co-Founder and Technical Head of RPM Manufacturing Solutions said – “Once we got necessary approvals and support from Deputy Commissioner, Mr Abhiram Sankar, we locked ourselves in our factory for three days continuously to develop the new product. Call it ‘jugaad’ or ‘smart’, we had to leverage whatever resources we had in our factory, take help from our network of friends and business associates to develop the new mould. Even the raw material availability was uncertain given the lockdown situation”
Rakesh Patel Mageri, Co-Founder and Head of Operations at RPM Manufacturing Solutions said – “The face shields have been designed flexible enough to adjust to different head-sizes and efficiently ensure that the face is protected from outside and body fluids. The visor clip developed by us can be reused many times as necessary, while the transparent sheets are to be replaced regularly”
With the growing demand for the face shields, they are planning to develop additional moulds to increase the production capacity. Further, they are planning to develop additional protective gears and healthcare related components.