Nottingham engineers produce certified 3D printed face shields for NHS

Engineers at the University of Nottingham have designed a PPE face shield with CE approval that they are 3D printing at scale for healthcare workers to use in the fight against COVID-19.

Using the latest in Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) technology and materials at the University’s Centre for Additive Manufacturing, and working with external collaborators, the team will deliver 5,000 of the face shields to Nottingham’s NHS and community healthcare workers.

Building on an open-source design of headband originally from HP, the team in the Faculty of Engineering made modifications to ensure the face shield could pass a regulatory test1 by BSI, the UK’s national standards body, to meet its essential health and safety requirements which ensures the highest level of protection is provided.

The face shields successfully passed the BSI tests and are CE approved1 for use as part of PPE for healthcare workers’ protection against COVID-19 in both hospital and community environments. They are provided in packs to the NHS, with five replacement visors per face shield as well as instructions for use.

The team have made the design and its accompanying documents ‘open-source’ to enable other manufacturers to produce the face shields – however, manufacturers will need to submit their product for testing to the BSI to obtain their own CE certification.

Design modifications were made by the team to conform to the BSI’s PPE regulations in order to obtain CE marking; this involved making the wrap-around visor element wider, as well as other alterations to improve comfort for users. The HP design was chosen by the Nottingham engineering team as it incorporates a cover at the top of the face shield which prevents fluid from entering the eyes from above – deemed critical by healthcare professionals.

The face shield (pictured being worn by Stuart Smith, Consultant at Queen’s Medical Centre Nottingham and Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham) comprises a 3D printed headband, a laser cut PET visor (with anti-fog coating) and is kept in place with a laser-cut adjustable strap. As well as using their own EOS Laser Sintering equipment, the University of Nottingham’s engineering team have been heavily supported by Matsuura UK to produce the 3D printed element, using their HP MultiJet Fusion process. The visor element has been made with the help of local firm, Prime Group, and Nottingham Trent University are now ramping up for production of the laser-cut strap.


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