Triple Queen’s Award winning Photocentric, in Oxney Road, is to use its 3D printing expertise to make more than 7.6 million items of protective gear for frontline health and care staff.
The prestigious order has prompted the company to restructure its production process creating a print farm of more than 30 new large format printers operating around the clock, seven days a week.
The new set up will enable Photocentric to manufacture 500,000 face shields a day.
The company, which has 120 staff, is now looking to recruit a further 100 printers to help it fulfil the order.
And the first delivery of face shields has already been made to the national PPE distribution centre with many now in use by health staff caring for Covid patients.
Paul Holt, managing director and founder of Photocentric, said: “I am proud of the ingenuity and hard work demonstrated by the whole team.
“We have shown that it is possible to use our patented 3D printing technology to very rapidly design and make millions of units of an entirely new product.
He added: “This home-grown, patented technology demonstrates that the UK can reduce dependence on overseas production and manufacture parts locally, making the quantity needed, when they are needed, at a competitive price.”
Photocentric began making protective face shields last March in the wake of intense demand from hospitals.
The company first won the Queen’s Award for innovation in 2016 and was a winner again two years later for exports. It won a third Queen’s Award this year for innovation.
Mr Holt said: “Producing face shields has enabled Photocentric to demonstrate that it is possible to use their technology to rapidly manufacture very high volumes of plastic parts at a price that competes with traditional manufacturing processes.
“It is no longer reserved for slow, expensive prototyping applications but can produce hundreds of thousands of parts per day.”