I reported earlier last month that the LEGO Group had retrofitted some of their moulding machines to produce face shields for the healthcare workers in Denmark.
Some of the RLFMs (Recognised LEGO Fan Media) were given the opportunity to pose a host of questions to the team behind it and they were able to share some insight to getting this unique project off the ground.
Q: How did the idea of producing the face masks come about?
LFT (LEGO Faceshield Team): In March, one of our colleagues in the Engineering department heard that there was a desperate need for safety equipment for COVID-19 in Denmark. He approached the rest of his team with his idea for a visor and they started to trial production ideas.
Q: Who was leading the team at that time?
LFT: It was Mikkel Schildknecht Hoé, a Senior Equipment Manager in our Engineering department who came up with the idea. He worked with his team and suppliers to make the visors a reality in just a couple of weeks.
Q: Were medical professionals involved with the design?
LFT: The design and quality was approved by local health authorities. Approximately 100 LEGO employees have been involved in this project in Denmark and Hungary, from developing the design and new moulds, to working with our supplies to make the visors a reality.
Q: How long did it take to get the moulding machines retrofitted?
LCT: We were able to produce new moulds and convert a number of existing moulding machines in Billund and Nyíregyháza. Usually the process of making new moulds takes about six months but in this case we were able to work with our suppliers to make the visors quicker. The production method is unique to the visors and not comparable to the production of other LEGO elements.
Q: Was a different kind of plastic used to make the face shields?
LFT: The visors use the same transparent plastic as is already used for other transparent LEGO elements. We also made sure that the visors produced meet the same stringent quality standards as all other LEGO elements.
Q: What was your biggest challenge to overcome for this project?
LFT: We thought that one of the biggest challenges would be time. But time actually turned out to be a great motivator. More than 100 members of staff offered to help with the project so we could get visors into production quickly, some working seven days a week and over the Easter holidays to fast-track production. Everyone wanted to do their bit to help our frontline health workers.
Q: Do these face shields have element IDs like other LEGO bricks?
LFT: Yes the visor elements have been given unique design IDs to help with production processes.
Q: Are they embossed with the LEGO logo?
Q: Are these only distributed in Denmark?
LFT: Our priority was to first help the Danish Health Services as we could ship visors quickly. We have also begun making the visors in Nyíregyháza and recently donated 65,000 to doctors working in the region. We have also donated visors to health workers in Mexico.
Q: Would these be for sale to other countries in need of face shields?
LFT: Right now, our focus is on providing visors as a donation for frontline healthcare workers (e.g. hospital staff, staff in nurseries, care homes, dentists) in our local communities in Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic and Mexico.
Thanks again to Richard Jones for starting this conversation and Jordan Paxton for pushing it through. And of course, Brickset, New Elementary, Hispabrick Magazine for contributing to the questions!
Stay safe and build on!