In LatestNewsLEP

Staffordshire University joins the UK-wide effort to tackle the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

Skilled technicians at Staffordshire University are using 3D printers to produce face shields as part of a UK-wide effort to address the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare professionals and other frontline staff.

As part of 3D Crowd UK’s #TheBigPrint initiative, Staffordshire University is using specialist equipment to 3D print protective face shields that will be used by frontline staff who dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. So far 5,500 volunteers from across the UK have stepped up to help make the protective masks as part of #TheBigPrint initiative, with 80,000 items currently in production.

The 3D printers were purchased with support of a £380,000 grant from the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership's Skills Equipment Fund.

Technical Services Manager at Staffordshire University’s Smart Technology Hub, Heidi Robinson, commented:

“One of our technicians had seen the 3DcrowdUK site and put it forward at our team meeting. It seemed best way forward as we had the correct materials in to help.

“I’ve had many technical staff in my Smart Technology Hub volunteer to help print in shifts and we are now looking at relocating printers off-site, to save unnecessary travel, and to continue this work while we have materials in stock.”

Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire LEP, Alun Rogers, added:

“It is fantastic to see the university using its skills and expertise in this way to support the national effort during the coronavirus crisis. We’re proud of our universities and colleges for what they deliver in terms of providing essential innovative skills. They also play a vital part in our economic growth.

“Our Skills Equipment Fund has made a real difference to education and training organisations, to people obtaining skills and now to key workers who are doing an invaluable job at this time.”

Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funding has been used to create a £5million Skills Equipment Fund (SEF) that will allow local employers and training institutions to bid for funding to purchase state-of-the-art equipment that will help to upskill staff, and fund minor adaptations to accommodate the equipment.