CHOCOLATE machines used by Cadbury have been repurposed to produce visors for medical staff in the fight against coronavirus.
Mondelēz International, the parent company of the British chocolatier, said it had partnered with engineering firm 3P Innovation to produce the medical visors.
It aims to produce thousands every day for frontline NHS staff.
The visors will be produced with the help of 3D printing machines, normally used for making chocolate sculptures at Cadbury’s Bournville production plant.
Louise Stigant, UK MD at Mondelēz International, said: “I’m extremely proud that our research and food engineering teams have come up with a creative way to repurpose our chocolate making skills and technology, so we can make and print parts for the medical visors.
“By working in partnership with 3P and other businesses we can scale our operations and help protect those who are working so hard to protect us and beat coronavirus.”
She added that NHS staff and other frontline services “are doing an incredible job”.
It isn’t the first time that Cadbury’s Bournville factory has stepped forward at a time of national crisis.
During World War II in the 40s, the factory helped to make equipment for the Royal Air Force, including gas masks, service respirators and aeroplane parts for Spitfires and other planes.
This time, Mondelēz says it will help produce the plastic bands which attach to the top and bottom of the visors.
It has also invested finances so that 3P can boost production numbers with injection mould technology.
Tom Bailey, Managing Director at 3P Innovation, said: “We have now set up this production line and the finished products are on their way to end users.
“Thanks to the generous support from Mondelez, we have purchased an injection moulding tool which is set to make a huge difference to the volumes we can produce.
“We are now looking for ongoing funding, which is essential to make sure we can continue to purchase components and run the production lines.”
The engineering firm, based in Solihull, launched an initiative last week to bring together businesses which can help produce and distribute visors to medical staff across the nation.
It has already delivered visors from the project to a Warwickshire NHS clinic, and hopes to be able to send out 10,000 units every week in future.
Meanwhile Mondelēz says it is contributing more than £2 million to help communities and NHS staff in the UK, including donating to Age UK’s Coronavirus Appeal.
Cadbury is not the only organisation that is lending a hand to help produce crucial medical supplies for frontline health staff.
Earlier this week the University of Hull announced that it had come up with a face shield design that takes just minutes to make.
It is hoping to produce thousands every day to help build the UK’s supply of medical protective equipment.
Engineers from the university’s department of Engineering said they were using laser cutting and injection moulding techniques to produce the shields, and are aiming to produce more than 20,000 of them every week.
They are also sharing the design nationally so that the shields can be produced elsewhere.
And the University of Bristol has said it will allow NHS staff to use one of its student
accommodation sites, located near to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, at a subsidised cost.
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