3D Printed Glove
Engineers from Jaguar Land Rover are working on the next generation of protective workplace clothing – a lightweight 3D-printed glove which could help better protect employees from the threat of a musculoskeletal disorder. The 3D glove is designed for people working on the production line, for example those required to fit clips or fasteners into the chassis during assembly of Jaguar and Land Rover’s luxury vehicles.
Musculoskeletal disorders, which include more than 100 different types of conditions, make up around 30 per cent of all workplace injuries that result in time off and account for a third of the money paid in compensation to employees. Musculoskeletal disorders affect an estimated 10% of the global population, rising to as much as 40% in certain industries.
Engineers at Jaguar Land Rover’s Gaydon site – home to one of the largest 3D printing facilities in the UK – saw an opportunity to use the company’s advanced manufacturing expertise to design and 3D print a lattice-style structure which would provide support to reduce muscle fatigue, but also be flexible and comfortable enough to wear during an eight-hour shift. Using 3D computer-aided design (CAD) software, the team modelled designs in different densities using a variety of materials for testing. The glove was printed using thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), ULTRASINT, a new material, ideal for flexible parts, developed by BASF for HP’s solution.
Following feedback from trials, the team is now working on a second-generation prototype. It will include a foam pad made using impact additive D30 – a polymer material which absorbs impacts when placed under pressure. This will make the glove suitable for those who fit parts, such as door casings, using the palm of the hand.