UoL Engineers use 3D Printing Technologies to Produce Protective Visors for NHS Staff

Engineers at the University of Liverpool are using their expertise in 3D printing and laser cutting technologies to produce protective visors for use by local hospitals.

The protective visors, developed in conjunction with NHS staff at local hospitals (including the Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, Aintree University Hospital and Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust), use a hybrid design approach with a laser cut top section and a 3-D printed bottom section. Laser cutting technology reduces the production process significantly from six hours to half an hour and local industry are helping to scale up production further.

Staff and PhD students, based in the University’s Active Learning Laboratory, are using their technical facilities and expertise to produce an initial batch of 50 to 100 protective visors per day, with the intention of increasing this to 300 per day over the coming weeks.

The protective visors will be delivered to three hospitals in the local region in the next few days with other local hospitals soon to follow suit.

Dr Kate Black, an expert in additive manufacturing at the University of Liverpool, said: “Thanks to 3D printing and laser cutting technology, our team of engineers have been able to design a protective visor that can be produced in about half an hour.

“We have worked closely with our local NHS hospitals on the design and now that they are happy with it our dedicated team of staff and PhD students from the university are ready to start production so that we can help protect our health services staff at this time of extraordinary need.”

Dr Paul Fitzsimmons, deputy medical director at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’d like to thank Dr Black and her team for all their amazing work in designing and producing these visors and not only getting them to our hospitals so quickly, but for sharing the information required to make them with colleagues across the UK and help hospitals access more of the equipment they need in the fight against coronavirus.”

Professor Louise Kenny, Executive Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Liverpool’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented global challenge, and staff and students across our Faculties and Departments here at the University of Liverpool are coming together in all sorts of ways to provide their expertise, facilities and innovation to manage, mitigate, and eventually stop this virus.”