Covid-19: Arburg, Ems-Chemie, Uvex team up to produce protective goggles

Covid-19: Arburg, Ems-Chemie, Uvex team up to produce protective goggles

In these challenging times, time is of the essence and healthcare equipment a priority. Thus, German machinery manufacturer Arburg, Swiss specialty chemicals group Ems-Chemie and German safety eyewear manufacturer Uvex have come together to produce protective goggles, to protect the eye and conjunctiva tissue from contamination, intended for specialist personnel such as doctors, nurses and emergency responders.

Since Arburg has had experience producing goggles that it showed at the K2019 show last year, it decided to assist in any way possible, thus the protective goggle project. This was also in response to a call Dr. Thomas Walther, Head of Application Technology at Arburg, received from a doctor at a hospital in Rottweil. 

The three partners had already been working for a long time and it was decided that the goggles could be produced at Arburg, with an initial batch of 20,000 pairs of goggles at its parent plant in Lossburg. 

"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 Gerhard Böhm, Managing Director of Sales at Arburg.

At K2019 in Düsseldorf, Germany, in October last year, Arburg demonstrated, together with eyewear manufacturer Uvex and material manufacturer Ems-Chemie, the fully automated production of sunglasses as trade fair demonstrators. The partners decided that the already very dense sunglasses could also be transformed into protective goggles, using the same tools and also the same design. 

Covid-19: Arburg, Ems-Chemie, Uvex team up to produce protective goggles

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. The goggles are mass-produced in a simplified injection moulding process, and 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 Ems-Chemie from Domat in Switzerland. Once the eyewear packaging has been CE-marked and assembled, "it's quite likely that the distribution can already begin at the beginning of May," says Thomas Walther. 

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. The packaging is carried out downstream manually by a packaging station of the packaging machine manufacturer Packmat from Villingendorf, which also entered the production chain.

The cooperation partners Arburg and Ems-Chemie have shared the first 20,000 pairs of protective goggles and, according to Magdalena Martullo, CEO and main shareholder of EMS, will distribute them free of charge via official channels to hospitals, nursing homes and civil defence organisations in Germany and Switzerland. 


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