15,000 protective visors produced for local NHS staff

University staff, with support from Unilever, AMB and Smurfit Kappa, have produced more than 15,000 3-D printed protective visors for use by healthcare staff in local NHS Trusts and partners.

Over the last eight weeks, staff and PhD students in the School of Engineering and Architecture, answered the call to produce protective face visors using the latest in 3D printing and laser cutting technologies.

The protective visors, which use a hybrid design approach with a laser cut top section and a 3-D printed bottom section, were developed in conjunction with NHS staff at local Trusts.
Industrial partners also provided their support to the project. Unilever, who have a strategic partnership with the University, provided support with scaling up production of the visors and AMB with Smurfit Kappa, a leading provider of packaging materials donated materials for free to the project.

The project also received support from Taylor Wessing, an international law firm which opened an office in Liverpool in October 2018. The firm contacted Liverpool engineer, Dr Kate Black, in order to provide their continued support to the University, through this new project.

The visors use a WHO approved design which is available for anyone around the world to access. Toyota Motors, based in Derbyshire, are amongst those who have used the design. Their engineers used the design to manufacture 1,000 plastic visors for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust healthcare staff.

Dr Kate Black, an expert in additive manufacturing in the University’s School of Engineering, said: “It has been amazing to see how during this unprecedented period, University staff, technicians and PhD students working both in the Active Learning Lab and from home, have helped support NHS staff in our local hospitals in the collective fight against COVID-19.

“Alongside our staff and students, I would also like to take the opportunity to thank our industrial partners whose contribution helped us to produce and deliver so many visors in such a short time. I would also like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Taylor Wessing for donating to this project.”

Eddy Stocker, Engineering Director at Unilever, said: “It has been a truly inspirational to see how a team responds in times of crisis. The Unilever team have worked tirelessly to produce 3D printed components and involve supply chain partners, helping to ramp up the production of these critically important face visors.”

Wesley Donlon, National Account Director at Smurfit Kappa, said: “We have all been affected by Covid- 19 in some way and my wife Emma has first-hand experience of using these visors, working on the front line for the NHS. Both I and Smurfit Kappa were only too pleased and proud to work together with the University, Unilever and other partners to support this effort. Well done to all.”

Will Turner, AMB Business Development Manager, said: “It’s during critical times as we are currently experiencing that you see the very best in collective thinking and the ability to focus to achieve a common goal, quickly. This partnership has brought together some of the best businesses in their respective fields to deliver protection and ultimately helps in saving life’s. AMB are proud to have played their part in making this happen.”

Head of Taylor Wessing’s Liverpool office, partner Saleem Fazal, said: “Our relationship and continued work with the University of Liverpool is incredibly important to us. It’s inspiring to see everyone across the country coming together when we need to most, during these unprecedented times and throughout the challenges we’ve all faced over the past few months. Key workers are essential to tackling this pandemic, and we’re pleased we could support them through the University of Liverpool and this essential project.”

Visors were delivered with support from University’s Campus Support team to Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Southport & Ormskirk Hospital Trust and Arrowe Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. Visors were also provided to the Malawi-Liverpool Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Programme and to the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Find out more about the different ways the University is responding to the challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and about its COVID-19 Emergency Fundraising Campaign here >>>