Three design technology teachers in Lincolnshire are manufacturing vitally needed protective equipment during the coronavirus outbreak for frontline NHS workers.
The colleagues from Stamford Endowed Schools (SES) have joined the national effort to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare staff by producing facemasks.
SES incorporates Stamford Junior School, Stamford School and Stamford High School.
The senior school’s workshops have already produced 100 masks and delivered them to the Peterborough City Hospital intensive care unit (ICU) on Sunday 29 March.
The three teachers are now working at full capacity and manufacturing 200 visors a day.
The visors are made by cutting a polypropylene headband and attaching it to a curved PVC screen.
Stocks are being produced using materials in stock from previous school projects, but staff say they urgently require 0.8mm polypropylene sheets and 0.5mm PVC to continue manufacturing the visors – they urged suppliers who can provide the necessary materials to contact the schools.
Head of design technology, Steve Newton, and his team of three initially trialled using the school’s 3D printer to manufacture the visors but found it too slow. The industrious trio went back to basics and created a prototype by hand.
The team have set up a production line in the school workshop, with one team member laser cutting and assembling the headband, one person cutting, shaping and punching the screen, and a third on assembly, cleaning and quality control.
We will keep manufacturing as long as we have materials and a demand for the product – we’re just glad we are able to help our amazing NHS workers
Mr Newton said: “Alongside many other DT departments across the country we have approached the NHS PPE shortage as a design challenge.
“At SES we are extremely fortunate to have the equipment and skill set to make a real difference to members of our NHS. The design process took approximately 14 hours from initial concept to final prototype and we are now able to manufacture 200 a day.
“We will keep manufacturing as long as we have materials and a demand for the product – we’re just glad we are able to help our amazing NHS workers.”
The schools have now received enquiries from Royal Papworth Hospital and LIVES.
The schools have donated thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to both Lakeside Healthcare Sheepmarket surgery in Stamford, and Allied Health South Lincolnshire, including 3000 disposable gloves, 3000 disposable aprons, 22 litres of hand sanitising gel, 2000 chlorine tablets and 60 pairs of eye protection.
These PPE donations follow last week’s large donation of food to Stamford’s ‘Second Helpings’ and Stamford Foodbank.
Principal of Stamford Endowed Schools, Will Phelan, said: “We are doing everything we can to help our community. I’m incredibly proud to see the excellent work of our teams; from the donations of food, supplies and personal protective equipment, to the manufacture of these face masks.
“We all need to pull together in these difficult times, and we are actively looking for ways we can help – if there are ways that our schools might be able to help, we would urge you to get in touch.”
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