Factory Workflow

The ‘Factory’ you set up will be your head quarters. It will be the place you and your volunteers prepare and pack your PPE, and the centre your ‘customers’ come if they want to collect the PPE in person.

Please remember everything here is a recommendation and it may not all be possible or suitable for operating where you are, we merely offer this as help.

Below we set out a workflow for how we recommend you manage your factory:

  1. Receiving parts
  2. Printed part workflow
  3. Visor workflow
  4. Packing workflow
  5. Collections workflow
  6. Deliveries workflow
  7. Setup/Packdown workflow

Receiving parts

When receiving parts from your makers, it is recommended to have them write their full names on the bag or box they are delivering them in, that way you can keep a record of how many units you are receiving from each maker as well as what quality they are supplying you with.

This can be useful down the line if you begin to supply your makers with filament you’ve bought using the crowdfunding money, so you can prioritise the makers producing good quality parts.

On factory days you should have someone who’s role it is to un-pack the parts received, testing each unit for print quality (checking for delamination, cracks, bumpy rough surface etc), and recording the quantity and quality by the makers name on a spreadsheet.

Printed parts workflow

Printed Parts – Step 1

The first thing you need to do with your printed parts is ensure they are good enough quality to use. Once you’ve done a quick visual check, the next step is testing them against the QC printout (available from our downloads page) to ensure that they will stretch and grip enough to hold onto the wearers head.
Any units that do not meet minimum requirements should be put aside and stored for recycling.

Printed Parts – Step 2

Next is post production, here any parts with sharp bits (especially on the inside of the band) should be sanded down to ensure they won’t hurt the wearer

Printed Parts – Step 3

If you have access to strong UV lights you can set up a stage here for placing the parts under a strong UV light ensuring both sides of the part have a decent length of exposure.

If you do include this step, please ensure you follow manufacturers safety recommendations as UV light can be harmful causing cancer or blindness if misused.

Printed Parts – Step 4

The next step is to take each printed part and scrub it with a sponge using washing up liquid. This is primarily to get rid of particles on the surface from sanding or transportation.
Once scrubbed, they should be rinsed under cold water and placed on a clean surface ready for the next stage.

Printed Parts – Step 5

Here the parts should be taken one by one and dipped in medical grade alcohol. We recommend you try and get hold of 80% or stronger.

Ensure the entire part has been submerged in the alcohol then hang it up to dry.

We fit string above our dipping station and hang the dipped parts on this so any alcohol that drips off will fall into the trays below and can be re-used.

The parts can now hang until they are dried and they are then ready for packing

Visor workflow

If possible, contact local companies and see if they can offer you pre-cut visor sheets using laser/machine cutting. If they can, this will negate steps 1-3.

Visors – Step 1

Your visors should be made from A4 acetate sheets (or failing that, laminating sheets), and ideally at least 240 microns thick.

Ensure your sheets are actually A4, if they are slightly larger (often the case with laminating sheets) they will need to be cut down using a guillotine to A4 dimensions (210 x 297 millimetres or 8.27 x 11.69 inches).

Visors – Step 2

The long side of the sheet should then be hole punched. Depending on your location, this will either be with a 4 hole punch or a 3 hole punch. Please ensure you are using the correct one (it is also very important you use the correct 3D model for your country to work with the correct amount of holes).

Make sure the sheet is placed correctly in the hole punch against the guide.
If the holes are misplaced, the sheet will not fit the face shield.

Visors – Step 3

The 2 corners on the other long side (the side which has not had holes punched) now need to be cut into a rounded edge.
The simplest thing to do here is to make a cardboard guide to cut around and makes things much faster.

Visors – Step 4

You now want a large plastic tub with a few inches of Dettol (or similar) diluted in water.

Taking the sheets one by one, submerge them in the tub until you have a thick stack in the dettol mix

Now fill another tub, this time with just water and place it next to the first.

Take the sheets one at a time from the first tub and submerge them in the water, rinsing the Dettol off.

Visors – Step 5

Once you have a decent size stack in the water tub, take them one by one and dry them.

There are many ways you can do this but we’ve found the most efficient way, is to us a hand squeegy (the sort of thing you’d use to clean windows or a shower with) and wipe down either side of the sheet whilst it lies on a flat or angled, clean surface.

We then use a compressor and blow any additional moisture off.

If you don’t have access to a compressor, you can hang the sheets up with pegs and allow them to dry but this can take considerably longer.

Packing workflow

Once your parts are checked and cleaned, it’s time to pack them.

We recommend you get hold of some clear A4 or A5 seal-able bags that you can put your visors into. This will keep them straight, prevent them getting scratched, and keep them clean.

The head bands can be bound in stacks of 5 with cleaned rubber bands (ensure you don’t bind them too tight or you may crack the printed parts).

Place the orders into bags or boxes along with a disclaimer and assembly instructions, it’s now ready to be collected or delivered.

Collections Workflow

Having end users come and collect the PPE from you can save your driver volunteers a lot of work, but if not managed properly, can cause chaos on factory days.

It’s important when people order items for collection to let them know not to come down until they have been told it’s ready for collection.

This way, once an order has been packed by your packing team, someone can then text, call or email the ‘customer’ and let them know their PPE is ready to collect.

We suggest you let them know that it will be held for them for a week and if they don’t collect it, the parts will be repurposed into other orders.

For this, it’s important to clearly mark your packed orders with the name of the customer and the date it was prepared.

We print off receipts from our website and stick these onto the orders.

When an order is collected or delivered we take the receipt and pile them up. Then at the end of factory day, we use them to change the order status on our website

Set up a sign posted rout for people coming to collect to follow and mark out 2 meter spacings on the floor to help them to follow social distancing.

Think about how you can use the space to minimise contact between people. We have customers queue up outside and use a window in our packing room hang orders on for customers to collect.

Delivery workflow

It is vital you appoint someone to be in charge of logistics.

This person will monitor any deliveries or collections requests and will assign deliveries and collections to the volunteer drivers ensuring that everything meets the end user safely.

Drivers should be issued with PPE of their own so that they can stay safe when distributing to front-line services.

Setup / Packdown workflow

Cleanliness is paramount at the factory so every time you set up and every time you pack down it is vital that you disinfect every surface that PPE will be placed on.

It is also extremely important that everyone at your factory maintains social distancing, wears face shields, gloves (especially those handling cleaned PPE), and masks.

If you and your volunteers get sick, you can’t help anyone, make sure your volunteers are protected and staying safe!