Thursday, 23 April 2020

British motorcycle parts engineers join fight against Covid-19 - GBRacing and Lewis Banks form not-for-profit PPE company

British motorcycle parts engineers join fight against Covid-19

GBRacing and LBS form
not-for-profit face-guard company

Lewis Banks and Sons (Engineers) Ltd, the catalyst behind north London-based motorcycle protection brand, GBRacing, has tooled up for production in an effort to help those who need the protection offered by a face-guard the most, from store workers to care workers — indeed anyone who could be endangered by the deadly covid-19 virus.

With the 'Ventilator Challenge' and all other official means of applying to assist the government apparently overwhelmed by the response from British engineering firms, and frustrated by the slow progress, LBS' managing director, Graham Banks, decided that it was time to take action and, assisted by his daughter, Dr Charlotte Banks (Phd, MEng), set about redesigning a simple headband-based face-guard that would be both affordable and fast to produce as an injection-moulded part. Son, Tim Banks, was tasked with logistics including coming up with a new brand name and producing an e-commerce website in just 48 hours — this has truly been a family effort from the fifth generation family-run engineering company in East Barnet.

LBS has produced its own tooling and now has a CNC-machined injection mould capable of producing up to 1,500 units per day. The company is happy to supply tooling at cost to any other injection-moulding firms up and down the
country looking to join the national effort in keeping people safe. This project is about people, not profit.

As such, the newly formed is a not-for-profit operation.

Due to complex regulations and lengthy approval programmes, the current design is not NHS-approved as it has been designed to be reused to reduce the cost to the end buyer/user — each component is washable and is dishwasher-friendly. Just as we are being urged to wash our hands, the same can be applied to this new face-guard. This is a robust, multi-use product, not to be confused with disposable items, such as 3D-printed products.

With the vast majority (84%) of care homes being privately owned, and therefore liable for the cost of their own protective equipment, the onus lies more and more with care home owners and employers to provide hard-working staff with suitable equipment. Our aim is that by producing high-quality, easy-to-use, and reusable cost-effective equipment — at cost price — no employer will be unable to afford to protect its staff.

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