How to Make PIPES Kits
All are free to make and supply PIPES Kits
Any factory that has the capability of processing polyethylene (polythene) can play an important role in addressing the ongoing COVID-19 crisis by manufacturing PIPES Kits and independently supplying them to end users at reasonable costs (no royalty payments required). The open-source design is made available here, free from restrictions, under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.
Two Designs: Full and Comfort
Common items + head cover + nose piece
(use when maximum protection is needed)
Common items + face shield
(use when working in hot/outdoor environments)
Common items in both designs: body cover, arms cover, shoe cover, hair cover, strap (belt).
8 rubber bands (6 required + 2 spare), and plastic outer gloves are included in the kits.
Items not included in the kits: latex/nitrile inner gloves, breathing mask.
In PIPES Comfort, a polyethylene headcover can be optionally included for additional protection that can be worn over the cotton hair cover. This will be like an inverted plastic bag with a hole in front (can be made by semi-circular cut of height about 130 mm on one edge a plastic, which will become circular after opening the bag).
The body cover is made from a vertical PE roll/tube, with two cuts for arms and one small vertical cut in the middle for the neck. The shoulders are made by cutting and sealing two triangular areas on top left and top right.
The arms cover is made from a horizontal PE tube/roll (preferably same thickness and color as body cover) with two cuts: one for the neck at the top and one for the chest at the bottom. A small cut or perforation can be provided in the center for easy tearing while degowning. Perforations (series of holes) are provided in the middle for the ease of tearing the arm piece during removal (doffing), but these perforations should done in such a way that the arm piece still remains sturdy enough to be worn without getting torn by accident.
Each shoe cover is made from a vertical PE roll/tube with one end sealed. It can be made preferably from the same material as body cover. Optionally, the shoe cover can be gazetted (pleated) for better fit. Each shoe cover can be secured by two rubber bands, one on the shoe and one on the leg.
A stretchable cotton hosiery tube is used to cover the hair and absorb sweat. This helps in reducing fogging in front of the eyes.
The head cover is made from a vertical PE roll/tube. The roll is gazetted (pleated) on the sides and sealed on top edge. A cut is made in the center for breathing.
The nose piece, to provide an air passage for breathing, is made from a flat clear plastic sheet (thickness around 300-400 microns), which has a shaped cut on top for the nose, an arrow-like shape on the left that can slide into a slit on the right when folded to make a cylinder. Two long straps are placed vertically and stapled on this sheet (straps can be 20 mm x 1000 mm in size, and preferably made from PP or laminated PE).
Face shield is used in the PIPES Comfort kit. The shield is made of a clear transparent plastic sheet (PET or Rigid PVC) of 250-400 micron thickness. A relatively large size is used to provide good protection for face, including ears and chin. The shield has four slots (small vertical holes), around 10-mm below the top edge, through which a wide strap passes in a criss-cross manner. The strap can be made from any kind of fabric, and can have width of about 20-25mm. This strap is used to tie the shield on the forehead (preferably over the cotton hair cover, which provides some soft padding).
Slideshow of different items in the kit
Click on images and use left/right arrow keys to scroll through the images (swipe left/right on mobiles).
Instructions for manufacturers
Ensure that the materials used are of the quality specified on this page. Specifically, the body, arm, and shoe covers must be made from 60-80 GSM virgin LDPE rolls/pipes/tubes (please note that: 60 GSM LDPE is about 65 microns thick). Colors can be chosen as per requirement (recommended: light colors such as milky white or sky blue). The face shield (in Comfort model) or nose piece (in Full model) must be made from at least 250 micron thick transparent sheet. The head cover (in Full model) must be made from high-transparency LDPE granules (e.g., Reliance granules) for good clarity. Anti-fogging coatings can be used to reduce deterioration in visibility caused by humidity inside the head cover. Cotton tubes used for hair cover are widely used in the hosiery industry. We recommend using recyclable materials for making the kits.
Manufacturers should include the linked logo+certificate page on the packaging of the kits. If there are any deviations from the design, they must be specified in the logo+certificate provided with the kits. Please also email us the details of the changes you have made, so that we can include them on our website, and can consider including them in the future version of the PIPES Kit.
For a one-page instruction sheets on wearing (donning) and removing (doffing) of PIPES, please click here for PIPES COMFORT and here for PIPES FULL . The instruction sheet should be included with the kits. A list of components with photographs should also be included in the kits.
The logo+certificate page mentions that the kit is not sterilized. If you have a setup for sterilization (for example, using ethylene oxide, EtO), you can use it and pack the kits in sealed covers. If you are doing this and can guarantee proper sterilization, you can change the certificate to mention that the kits are sterilized.
Checklist for manufacturers before supplying the kits
Check that all seals are sturdy
Check that all cuts are made precisely as per design
Check that all pieces have been included in the kit
Check that the kit is labeled correctly (Full or Comfort)
Check that the logo+certificate is included (logo and certificate must be used together)
Check that the instruction sheet is included
Check that the kit is packed and left untouched for at least 3 days before delivery
Support for manufacturers
Each cutting step can be performed using a custom-made "steel rule die". These are commonly used in various industries that require repetitive cutting of objects such as cardboard or plastic films in different shapes, and can be obtained from die-makers for about 2000 rupees each. Each sealing step can be performed using a hot/heat-sealing (bag sealing) machine, which can also be purchased for a few thousand rupees easily. For faster processing of steps where both cut and seal is required, it is possible to make a die that can perform both steps together using a custom-made die with nichrome wire. More automated machines can also be used. The raw material cost is expected to be around Rs. 30-40 per kit.
If you need help, please contact the PIPES Kit team.
Government of India, through the SAFE scheme of SIDBI, is providing quick (within 48 hours) loans at 5% interest rate, with no collateral property required, for manufacturing protective items for COVID-19. Click here for details.
Videos kindly provided by Muskan Packagers show some of the production steps below:
Cutting PIPES Kit body cover from a polyethylene roll using a steel rule die
Heat Sealing of PIPES Kit body cover using a simple hot/heat/bag sealing machine