The food manufacturer is repurposing its 3D printing technology which is normally used to make chocolate sculptures at Bournville, the home of Cadbury, to help print the medical visors.
This builds on a fascinating history of Cadbury’s Bournville factory stepping in to help the nation in times of need, having set up Bournville Utilities Ltd in the 1940s to help make gas masks, jerricans, service respirators and aeroplane parts for Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers during the Second World War.
3P launched an industry-wide initiative last week to bring together businesses and individuals who can help produce, assemble and distribute the visors to hospitals, doctors’ surgeries and clinics across the UK.
Mondelez is helping to produce the hard-plastic bands which connect the top and bottom of the visor. It has also invested money into the project so 3P can buy injection mould technology, which will mean the visors can be mass produced.
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3P has already delivered the first visors, to a Warwickshire NHS clinic, and will be scaling up their operations with the aim of making and delivering up to 10,000 units every week.
Mondelez has its UK base at Bournville, in Birmingham, as well as operating satellite chocolate factories at Chirk, in Mid Wales ,and at the Marlbrook site, in Leominster, which process cocoa beans and adds fresh British and Irish milk.
Louise Stigant, UK MD at Mondelez International, said: “The NHS and other front line services are doing an incredible job and we want to support them wherever we can.
“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.”
Tom Bailey, managing director at 3P innovation, said: “We have now set up the 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.”