On 16th March, the UK Government had put a call out to UK manufacturers to aid with the production of NHS ventilators and to accelerate production of other medical equipment. According to a report by the BBC, Downing Street described preparing for the spread of the virus a ‘national priority’ an appealed for the manufacturing industry and those with relevant expertise across design, assembly, procurement, testing, and shipping to help address the growing crisis.
Now that the injection molders have ramped up their production of PPE equipment, 3D printing is no longer required to create face shields. However during the crucial first few weeks where a fast response was needed, 3D printing enabled us to create and deliver over 11,000 face shields to the NHS and care homes. This would have been impossible without the help of so many of Solid Solutions and Solid Print3D customers and we can't thank every company enough for helping.
131 companies, 36 individuals, along with Solid Print3D and Solid Solutions staff’s personal printers managed to pull together to create a difference. We've created a short video to acknowledge everyone involved.
A surge of additive manufacturing companies have answered the call, with their speed of production and distribution networks being great advantages to quickly respond to this challenging situation. As the number of cases increases, so does the demand for protective equipment for the NHS staff. Our colleagues at Solid Print3D wanted to help and started a small production of face shields from our offices in Leamington Spa. However, even though they were running the 3D printers 24 hours a day, they could only print around 175 face shields per week.
The company decided to appeal to our Solid Solutions customers to join efforts in producing the face shields and had an amazing response from our community, with more than 300 customers wanting to help with their 3D printers! Neil Sewell from Solid Print3D commented, ‘The response has been incredible! We have had over 300 companies get in touch to volunteer their time and filament (for free), meaning we are likely to receive over 1,000 face shields per day that we can distribute to the NHS as soon as possible.’
Our Solid Solutions Dublin offices are also getting involved and currently have 15 printers running 24 hours a day to make over 1,500 face shields a week.
With the combined efforts of our Dublin office, Solid Print3D and our customers over 10,500 of these face shields have been printed to date. These are being distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, health care workers and front line staff.
If you would like to know more about producing face shields, Solid Print3D has created a step-by-step guide on how to 3D print face shields here. They have also created a LinkedIn group to help with any questions and bring the 3D printing community together in this initiative.