This news is not related to the automotive industry, but to what we are experiencing at the moment, especially our medical frontline workers. Due to the urgent need of personal protection equipment (PPE) by the medical teams, the Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii) and a local tech company will start production of PPE such as face shields and intubation boxes for healthcare workers to use in their efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PPE items will be produced by laser cutting, a process to cut, weld and mark plastic through the pinpoint accurate application of heat to plastic sheets to the desired shape. A laser beam is guided by the machine through a path based on the design drawn in CAD software.
The process allows for faster and more efficient production without the need for additional tooling, and can use easily sourced materials (given the restrictions placed on the export / import sector) such as acrylic and perspex.
“In order to ensure that PPE is readily-available despite shutdown of many manufacturers and raw material limitations, the deployment of technologies to rapidly manufacture PPE are crucial. MARii’s technology network has opened up opportunities for quick action to be taken for the PPE supply issue, and we hope more solutions can be developed to address other issues surrounding the pandemic”, said Dato’ Madani Sahari, CEO of MARii.
The use of laser cutting machines requires minimal operational supervision, reducing the risk of virus transmission through a simpler process workflow. It also allows for instant redesign and modification of products to suit specific needs, therefore saving time through the elimination of tooling modification that is common in injection moulding processes.
Dato’ Madani also explained that about 1,000 face shields and 50 intubation boxes can be produced per day. “These benefits make laser cutting a highly viable process in situations such as COVID-19, where single use products face a huge spike in demand”, he added.