Coronavirus: Peterborough company is creating thousands of face shields a day for medics

Tens of thousands of protective face shields are being created by a Peterborough company for use in hospitals across the UK and mainland Europe.
The production process at Photocentric.The production process at Photocentric.
The production process at Photocentric.

3D printing experts at Photocentric, in Cambridge House, in Oxney Road, have refocused their array of specialists printers to create the different parts needed for each face shield.

The action comes as comes as concern grows over a nationwide shortage of protective gear for the healthcare staff putting their own lives at risk as they care for patients suffering from the potentially deadly coronavirus.

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Photocentric’s initiative has been supported by many of its customers which have offered the use of 3D printers including the leading supplier of sports mouthguards Opro, headqurtered in Hemel Hempstead, which has provided five Magna printers.

A Photocentric-made face shield for healthcare workers.A Photocentric-made face shield for healthcare workers.
A Photocentric-made face shield for healthcare workers.

A spokeswoman for Photocentric said: “We have received a huge amount of requests for shields from hospitals both locally and in Europe.

“Due to this, we have turned our printer farm over to deliver thousands of shield parts a day.

“At the moment we have nine LC Magna large-format printers running, but we have had very generous customers get in contact to say they can lend theirs to help, including UK based Opro.”

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Founder Paul Holt said: “One of the shocking shocking events that has hit the world with the Covid-19 outbreak is the understanding that parts may no longer be able to be imported from Asia.

“Machines go in short supply, even protective equipment is no longer available.

“But we can print it, we can manufacture it digitally and we can make it in scale and at cost.

“So, a country like the UK, heavily developed but very poor on manufacturing, can recreate one and can recreate one overnight using digital images stored, that can now be recreated, physical objects in a matter of hours not months from another country.

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“This is truly enabling and it is part of the protection of a country that a country needs.

“When it needs to make things it must have that ability to do it when shock of no longer being able to import things becomes apparent.

“Having the ability to make things in scale using screens and printers is truly enabling and it strengthens the country’s ability to react to these sort of problems.”