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WMG staff use 3D printing in the fight against COVID-19

WMG staff use 3D printing to help in fight aganist COVID19A team of WMG academics, technicians and engineers are using their 3D Printing skills, to help in the fight against COVID-19, by producing face shields for NHS front-line staff.

As the supply of PPE became a key issue in the pandemic, technicians Phil Gibbons, Joseph Benjamin and Martin Worrall, and PhD student Kevin Couling responded to 3D Crowd’s call asking volunteers to use their 3D Printing capabilities to produce face shields.

WMG’s nine 3D printers have now been programmed to run around the clock producing more than 400 shields each week.

The first batch of face shields have now been vigorously inspected, cleaned, packaged and distributed to 3D Crowd’s central assembly station in Warwickshire. They will now be sent to organisations running low on supplies.

The team have also managed to order extra materials and will keep the printers running until supplies literally run out.3D printed face shields

Reader Greg Gibbons explains: “Demand for PPE is incredibly high, and we are in a unique position to be able to help.

“We have 3D Printers running in our Degree Apprenticeship Centre (DAC) and we are also planning to open up our Materials Engineering Centre (MEC) to enable mass production of the shields.”

In addition to the work with 3D Crowd, and with funding from WMG Centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the team are also working in collaboration with Queen Mary University of London on the development of an injection moulding process for face shield to enable mass production of the frame.

Associate Professor Jérôme Charmet, and Post-Doctoral Research Associate Rui Rodrigues explain: “It is fantastic that we are able to respond to this call and work towards providing the protection to the NHS that is so desperately needed.

“We are now finalising a tool design before we begin production. Once the process is up and running we then plan to transfer manufacture to Andel Plastics, an Injection Mould SME, who will continue with large scale production.”