SURVEY Copter, the tactical drones division of Airbus with its main site based in Pierrelatte, in southern France, this week gave a rapid and positive response to the proposal for an association with the Montélimar “Convergences 26” FabLab in Drome Ardèche, to start up production of medical protection visors on the 3D printers normally used to build drones.


The parts produced with a 3D printer, using fused deposition modelling (FDM) on an ABS type plastic base, account for up to 15% of the components of a drone built by SURVEY Copter. 

The SURVEY Copter 3D printers take about 45 minutes to produce a visor. It is not certified from the outset as medical equipment but it nonetheless offers the required protection and, given the urgency, is consequently being officially approved by the Montélimar CHU (university hospital). The challenge is to be able to produce a visor capable of withstanding the disinfection procedures used in a hospital environment at temperatures of up to 110°C, without deformation or opacity.


In various ways, including via the Gendarmerie, these visors are then shipped to the users, that is to the medical staff in the Montélimar and Valence university hospitals, freelance nurses, retirement homes and a certain number of Town Halls in the Ardèche and Drome départements.

SURVEY Copter normally employs about fifty staff on the Pierrelatte site and, on a volunteer basis, it has exceptionally enabled its 3D printer team to take part in this operation.

“Providing our urgent assistance to the medical sector, faced as it is with the COVID-19 epidemic, is one of our priorities, both locally and internationally, and the reactivity of Nicolas Askamp and his teams at SURVEY Copter is a perfect illustration of this”

Dirk Erat, Head of Communications at Airbus Defence and Space.

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