Firenze think outside of the box to produce innovative protective equipment solution

Adapting commercial snorkelling masks used for scuba diving, into protective equipment.

With the lead time being too long to produce much needed additional protective masks and ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals and those working to find quick solutions had to be particularly innovative.

One innovation that was developed due to the shortage in safety masks is the adaptation of commercial snorkelling masks used for scuba diving, into protective equipment that can be used by doctors and nurses who have treated those suffering with Coronavirus. The innovation sees the commercial scuba diving masks fitted with standard PP3 filters. The plastic used for the masks/ventilators can be easily sterilised and reused numerous timed following filter changes, meaning the innovation was a great solution for the difficulties hospitals faced.

The process for adapting this innovative solution included performing an accurate 3D scan with a Hexagon measuring arm and then through reverse engineering, the team were able to acquire the exact geometry of the mask. The process allowed the group to obtain a perfect fit between various components and the connection to the snorkelling masks. Through the use of the SolidWorks CAD software, the team were able to design the part of the mask which is linked to the snorkel.

When Energy Group, the group who had designed the snorkel mask innovation reached out to their partners for help, GKN Automotive team in Firenze knew that they could make a huge contribution to the production of the masks. Using the 3D printers at the Firenze site, the team were able to 3D print prototype parts that were used by the Energy Group.
The hard work and imagination of the GKN Automotive team, the Energy Group and their partners including Ferrari, Siemens and many others that made up the steering group that designed these innovative safety masks/ventilators, has gone a long way to help control the spread of COVID-19 across Italy and around the world.