19 June 2020

Further success for Highland Collaboration

In late March 2020, as the potential impact of the Covid19 crisis became apparent, two Inverness Campus based innovation companies 4c Engineering and Aseptium contacted their local hospital to see if they could apply their innovation skills to meet any of the anticipated needs.

From this offer, the need for face shields or visors was identified. In collaboration with the Raigmore hospital Intensive Care team the Corran visor was rapidly developed – from concept to prototype in just one week.

The development involved several local companies, and was supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Inverness Chamber of Commerce.  An assembly line was set up at LifeScan making significant volumes (~7,500) of the Corran I visor. This was a fairly labour intensive design which relied on the very generous provision of volunteer labour by LifeScan, and was produced as a not-for-profit item. It was made from materials readily available in lockdown to produce a simple, standardised design. This made the designers realise the initial release of the Corran visor was not an end result, but had the possibility of being the first iteration of a product.  

While very urgent initial demand was met with the interim Corran I product, the team learned lessons on the design side. This, coupled with users’ feedback (including pointers from the ICU team), gave them grounds to develop a completely new commercial product – the Corran II.

The first one was good, the second one is even better

The first Corran was a swift answer to an urgent need. The second focuses on improving the wearer’s experience and appropriate sourcing of materials - summed up as - less waste, more comfort.

The designers have introduced more automation into the component manufacture, simplifying and reducing assembly labour. The entire design is ultra-light – less than 25g - and all of the elements are cleanable.  The screens are  very optically clear  and are replaceable.

For users there are a number of benefits. The visor is very light and doesn't use tight elastic or sprung plastic legs to stay in position. Instead it has a  flexible band that sits naturally on the head, meaning it is comfortable for extended wear. There areintegrated face mask loops for added comfort.

In a great example of circular economy, the visor screens are punched out from roll-end material that would otherwise be going into the waste stream at another Highland business. 

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 A CE mark has now been awarded following customer feedback and rigorous testing. This major milestone allows the product to be sold on the open market. 

Commenting on the project, Andy Hall, Director of 4c Engineering said:

“The Corran II visor is the result of engaging with and listening to frontline workers then tailoring a design to meet their demands. We balanced the need to produce a safe product with the desire to minimise weight and simplify the design. I’m proud of the improvements the team made in just a matter of weeks and achieving a CE mark shows our design is fundamentally safe.”

 

Pawel de Sternberg Stojalowski of Aseptium added:
“Corran II proves that even PPE can be designed for comfort. Rapid development is a great adventure, and being able to perfect your design in cooperation with local suppliers is a great pleasure, especially when it results in our best product in this category to date. ”

 

Stewart Nicol, Chief Executive of Inverness Chamber of Commerce added:

 "The team at 4c Engineering have done an incredible job of innovating an initial product design and taking it to a new, scalable level in the space of a few weeks.  Focused on the client needs and collaborating with local businesses, 4c Engineering have demonstrated the strength and innovation that exists within the Highland business community.  This bodes well for our region as we look towards exiting from the impact of the current global pandemic and seize the opportunities that will exist through collaboration, innovation and hard work!"