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University repurposes specialised equipment and 3D printers to make extra PPE

The University of Manchester aims to make about 500 additional mask headbands per week.

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Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment (Jacob King/PA)

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment (Jacob King/PA)

Medical staff wearing personal protective equipment (Jacob King/PA)

Specialised equipment and 3D printers are being repurposed at the University of Manchester, to help make more safety equipment for NHS workers.

A team able to operate the 3D printers have volunteered to work on site to help with the surge in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Headbands for protective facemasks are being designed and printed as part of a joint effort with Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford.

3D printing has allowed the Greater Manchester-based team to progress rapidly from concept, to prototypes, which allowed infection control teams to validate the design and enable the production of PPE acceptable for use in the region's hospitalsProfessor Brian Derby

They are hoping to produce about 500 additional mask headbands per week, using almost 50 3D printers across the university.

Meanwhile, the face shield is being laser cut by regional commercial suppliers and assembled at Salford Royal Hospital NHS Trust.

Professor Brian Derby said the “3D printing has allowed the Greater Manchester-based team to progress rapidly from concept, to prototypes, which allowed infection control teams to validate the design and enable the production of PPE acceptable for use in the region’s hospitals”.

NHS staff will carry out daily collections from the campus.

The university says it is taking measured steps to ensure travel by those working on the project is kept to a minimum.

Some 47,660 pairs of nitrile gloves and 200 pairs of protective goggles have already been donated by the university to stretched local health practices.

PA