Last updateSun, 09 Aug 2020 9am

Vermeulen & Vermeulen Reclame supports TU Delft in the production of a mechanical ventilator

Vermeulen & Vermeulen Reclame is an advertising agency based in Nieuwkuijk, the Netherlands, which has been active in the field of signing, lettering, carwrapping and display graphics since 1996. That the Technical University of Delft should approach the company in 2020 in connection with a mechanical ventilator was something that the likeable entrepreneur Marcel Vermeulen certainly did not see coming.

But also the students who contacted him in this regard had completely different plans for the coming year. You were planning to do an internship abroad. When the coronavirus thwarted their plans and they were confronted with growing concerns about a possible shortage of ventilators, the professors and students of Delft University of Technology decided to launch a new, overarching initiative instead of the cancelled internship: Air for All.
Project Inspiration is a part of it. Together with his students, the project leader Professor Gert Smit succeeded in developing a ventilator in a relatively short time, based on a British model from the 1960s available at the Boerhave Museum. The so-called East Radcliff fan is a mechanical device - i.e. it does not use electricity, so it is relatively easy to build and repair.
Since the Prokelt is an open source project, the construction plans are freely accessible to everyone. In addition, the team has deliberately chosen components that are widely available around the world so that the device can also address the lack of ventilators in poorer countries. A successful project: At the beginning of May, a first prototype was already sent to Guatemala. There it will serve as an example for the local production plant Talleres Hernandez to produce the device in their own country.
Since this type of device naturally requires a durable, clearly legible control panel, the team sought advice from Marcel Vermeulen in April. They delivered the design themselves, and Marcel took care of the necessary fine-tuning. He then started to produce the control panels on his Roland DG LEJ-640F.
The LEJ-640F is a large format UV LED flatbed printer measuring 1.60 m x 3.20 m that can also print on rigid materials. Like most UV printers, it has built-in LED lamps that make sure the ink dries quickly, which gives you more flexibility. Marcel explains: "First we printed the back of the control panels with our LEJ-640F mirror-inverted. That is why we have chosen transparent polycarbonate for the control panels. We then used our Zünd to cut a special double-sided 3M adhesive layer that we attached to the back of the control panel."
This combination of a mirror-inverted printed back and a double-sided 3M adhesive layer provides adequate protection for the print and makes the control panels particularly durable. "We have already printed 3 samples for the TU Delft. However, we assume that these will soon be produced on a larger scale - although we do not yet know for sure. The foils on which the control panels are printed are 1.4 x 1 m and each individual control panel measures 15.5 x 24 cm. "So I can produce about 30 per run," he says.
He does not know exactly how TU Delft came across him. However, it could be that it has to do with the popular Dutch talk show Jinek. This is broadcast daily on RTL XL, and in early April Vermeulen & Vermeulen Reclame was a guest of the Brabant Mouth Mask Initiative (Brabant Mondmaskers Initiatief). Together with other volunteers, Marcel has been producing face masks since the second half of March. This does not mean face masks made of cotton, but masks made of real filter material.
"They are not CE-certified, but they have been tested" by no one less than TU Delft. The university was so impressed by the initiative that they themselves proposed to test the material. "With particularly good results," confirms Marcel. "By the way, this material was already being used successfully during the swine flu epidemic. Although the masks do not have a CE certificate, they are still safe and versatile."
These masks were distributed free of charge to the various care facilities in the region. In addition, Marcel has added a whole range of materials to its web shop that companies and other institutions can use to make their buildings corona-safe - from different types of floor graphics, information boards and face protection to inexpensive protective screens made of durable cardboard to provide a solution for the to offer increasing lack of plexiglass.
But what motivates him, in addition to all these additional activities, to also produce free face masks for regional care and health facilities and to support TU Delft in the production of their control panel? “It quickly became clear that the government was struggling to provide enough protective materials. I knew we probably had less to do anyway, and I had the equipment to produce this kind of material internally. ”
So he thought: why not? “Above all, I wanted to help. And even though the intensive care units have done a fantastic job so far and the pressure on these departments has decreased, the fear of a possible second wave remains. This time we and especially countries like Guatemala will be able to count on additional ventilators thanks to the TU Delft. In times like these it becomes clear that we are very adaptable and able to quickly come up with new solutions. ”



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