7th May 2020

The Hi Tech and Digital team at South Devon College had set out on a mission to address the shortage of PPE in the NHS by utilising the 3D printing facilities available at the College. This mission evolved to inspire businesses around the country that were capable to do the same. As a result of media coverage, the team had thousands of emails from volunteers across the UK wishing to support the efforts.

Ben Bryant – Lead for Engineering, Hi Tech & Digital Team at South Devon College

South Devon College joined efforts with companies from their existing business network – Teignbridge Propellers, Gooch & Housego, Hercules Hydraulics and Dart Valley Systems – to form the South Devon College Printing Group with Safety First providing a courier provision and other resources supplied by Dart Haven Marina and Partington Print in Paignton.

The Group coordinated the efforts of businesses, as well as a network of individual volunteers within the local community, to produce and deliver the face shields. Enquirers from further afield were sent the open source file adapted by the College along with details of the specification for materials and print set up.

Since the start of lockdown, the South Devon College Printing Group have now supplied over 1000 visors Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust and it has been confirmed that the Trust now has enough for their frontline staff.

In an email thanking the team, Nick Peres of the Torbay and South Devon NHS Trust said:

“It is an absolute testament to the efforts of South Devon College and community partners that we are at this point in having a healthy supply of face visors in the hospital, the production of which have supplemented our own NHS supply chain tremendously. For that, everyone here is extremely grateful to you all.”

Steve Caunter, Assistant Principal and Lead for Hi Tech & Digital at South Devon College, said:

“The number of businesses and individuals volunteering to support this initiative with their own facilities and materials is staggering. All of this wouldn’t be possible without collaboration. We simply wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the initial request to support the NHS alone. Our community is showing just how strong it can be when working together and now our aim is support the valuable work undertaken in care settings. Thank you again to all those involved.”

The College will continue to support the NHS where needed but the team recognises that the NHS isn’t the only place PPE like this is desperately required and has now turned its attention to supporting community health and social care settings. The College’s initial efforts in supporting this sector has seen a further 200 units produced so that will be distributed to those other care settings.

For your information the link to the original source file is:

https://www.prusaprinters.org/prints/25857-prusa-protective-face-shield-rc3

Any other technical specifications can be provided on request. If you have any questions or you think you can support South Devon College with this project, then contact Assistant Principal and Lead for Hi-Tech, Steve Caunter, at [email protected].

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