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NTU 3D printing face shield components to support PPE efforts

Academics across NTU are producing vital face shield components using 3D printing, supporting the UK’s need for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the coronavirus crisis.

PPE components
3D printed PPE components

The university is involved in three separate projects to produce components which when fully assembled are suitable for use within health and social care settings.

In the School of Science and Technology, Dr Rob Morris is coordinating a team to 3D print the top and bottom sections of face shields.

Scientist Dr Morris was approached by Nottingham East Primary Care Network, and has worked with engineering colleagues at the university to arrange the use of NTU’s 3D printing equipment off campus.

To date the team have produced 230 printed components. Once printed, the parts are cleaned and packaged for distribution by a team of drivers who take them to a central hub where the parts are packed with the remaining pieces required to make the shields – a transparent screen and piece of elastic. The completed shields are then distributed locally or nationally, depending on demand.

The team have since joined the nationwide volunteer collective 3D Crowd, which through an 8,000 strong volunteer force has facilitated the printing of over 65,000 face shields for essential frontline workers in health and social care organisations up and down the country.

Dr Morris said: “I feel really pleased that everyone at NTU was so happy to help out and to give up their time to get involved - we have been really well supported by colleagues across the university to help out with the national effort.”

In NTU’s School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment, meanwhile, technical specialist Chris Forbes has been using Stratasays 3D printing to produce face shield components  that are being sent to SolidPrint3D to be sterilised, assembled, and delivered to health workers.

Chris Forbes said: “I didn’t want our 3D printers to sit around doing nothing when they could be helping the national effort. Colleagues across the university have all been brilliant in ensuring we can have access to the equipment to carry out this work.”

Earlier this month it was reported that Dr Dave Fairhurst, Professor Bob Stevens and research technician Luke Blythe have been working with the University of Nottingham, using NTU’s laser-cutting facilities and their own expertise to produce the strap component of a face shield designed by the University of Nottingham’s Engineering department.

Professor Nigel Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, at Nottingham Trent University, said: “We are delighted to be supporting nationwide initiatives to produce safe and certified PPE solutions to our healthcare workers, prioritising the protection of our communities against this virus.”

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    NTU was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students. NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience. The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With nearly 32,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University contributes £900m to the UK economy every year. With an international student population of more than 3,000 from around 100 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook. The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019. A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

    A total of 82% of its graduates go on to graduate entry employment or graduate entry education or training within six months of leaving. Student satisfaction is high: NTU achieved an 87% satisfaction score in the 2019 National Student Survey.

    The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

Published on 20 May 2020
  • Subject area: Sciences including sport sciences
  • Category: Press office; Research; School of Science and Technology