Education community urged to offer 3D printing skills to protect key workers

03rd Apr

Hull’s employer-led school, Ron Dearing UTC, is working with the University of Hull’s Aura Innovation Centre in Hessle to design and 3D-print the protective equipment and is calling on other schools and colleges with 3D printers in Hull and the East Riding to support their goal.
Glenn Jensen (above), head of engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, the university and Aura are urging them to either produce the prototypes themselves using a pre-prepared file, or loan their digital printers to Aura where a 3D-printing hub can be created and staffed.
Glenn said hundreds of face shields could be produced every day with an increased number of 3D printers and the right supply of materials, and initial prototypes have already been requested by local pharmacy teams and other key workers anxious for protection against Covid-19.
He said: “Due to the current situation, lots of schools and colleges are closed and students and staff are working from home. Some of them have 3D printers which could be working 24/7 to produce these face shields for key workers who are desperate for them.
“It’s important to stress the shields have not been tested to meet any medical PPE standards, but they can be disinfected and used again.
“We want the educational 3D printing community in Hull and the East Riding to work collaboratively on this. If schools are shut over the half term, we can come and collect the printers, or they can be dropped off at Aura, where they also benefit from clean energy generation to power the printers.
“This is an opportunity to really make a difference and support and protect key workers locally and potentially nationally.”
The team is currently assessing how to source more materials to continue their drive, as well as looking at costings and another potential design which does not involve 3D printing.
Dr David Richards (left), pro vice chancellor for research and enterprise at the University of Hull, said: “The unprecedented events we have seen in recent weeks with coronavirus have seen businesses and communities rally together in support of key workers.
“It is great to be working as part of a partnership which includes the Aura Innovation Centre, the university’s department of engineering, its business school and Ron Dearing UTC to 3D-print vital supplies which will ultimately save lives.
“In theory, if you have a 3D printer at home or in your business, you can join the national effort and support the NHS and healthcare organisations at this important time. We at the university want to build on this collaboration and keep the momentum going.
“If you are in a position to help, please do get in touch.”
Innovation from the University of Hull’s department of engineering will also be shared with a consortium of organisations in Manchester, to allow them to produce faceguards for the NHS and other healthcare providers in their region. 
Hull University Business School is also establishing a network to co-ordinate all companies, schools and colleges across the region with 3D-printing capability to get involved in this initiative.
Anyone who has a 3D printer and would like to get involved, or loan their equipment to the team, is asked to email [email protected]

BusinessWorks Hull & East Yorkshire Autumn 2021

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