AMRC 3D prints protective face shields for NHS workers

Thousands of protective face visors to help keep Sheffield’s frontline NHS workers safe in the fight against Covid-19 are being made by a team at the University of Sheffield AMRC who are working around the clock to rapidly manufacture and assemble the essential face shields.

Engineers from the AMRC’s Design and Prototyping Group (DPG) have responded to the national call to produce more Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers by using technologies such as 3D printing and laser cutting to make up to 1,000 face visors per week.

The shop floor at the AMRC’s Design and Prototyping Testing Centre has been transformed into an assembly production line and the team worked tirelessly over the Easter weekend to deliver the first batch of 934 protective face shields to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on Easter Monday. They plan to deliver an additional 1,000 visors to the Northern General Hospital by next week.

Joe Palmer, the Senior Design and Development Engineer who is leading the AMRC’s response, said the team has coordinated its efforts with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to ensure visors are being delivered to the local hospitals with the greatest need.

He said: “We know these visors are needed now and not in a few weeks’ time, so we’re really pleased that we were able to get almost 1,000 out of the door by Monday and into the hands of the frontline NHS workers who so desperately need them in order to stay protected as they battle this deadly virus to save lives.

“When the visors were delivered to the medical stores department at the Hallamshire Hospital, everyone there was really appreciative and that was a real boost for our team.

“The manufacture of these visors has required an enormous amount of effort from a great many people and I want to thank everyone involved. People have been working in shifts for the past 12 days, working over the Easter weekend and on Easter Monday to make sure we could get this crucial kit to healthcare workers. It certainly would not have been possible without such a great team.”

The request for help to make face visors came less than a fortnight ago as demand for vital PPE kit for healthcare workers continued to grow nationwide.

As members of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult, the AMRC and the Nuclear AMRC are playing a key part in the national response to Covid-19, helping Ventilator Challenge UK – an industrial consortium which includes Rolls-Royce, Airbus, BAE Systems, GKN, Siemens, Ford, McLaren, PCT and Renishaw – rise to the challenge of producing an additional 50,000 ventilators for the NHS, following a plea by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The consortium is focusing production on two existing ventilator designs which meet the high-level specification for a Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System (RMVS) developed by clinicians and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

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