7 May 2020

Nottingham engineers produce certified 3D printed face shields for NHS

The Centre for Additive Manufacturing (CfAM) at the University of Nottingham (UoN) have worked with colleagues within the University's Bioengineering Research Group, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and a host of external collaborators and contributors to develop a Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) FaceShield to meet the critical need for COVID-19 related PPE from healthcare professionals. Face shields are part of the government’s recommended PPE for coronavirus, providing protection to the eyes and face against contamination from respiratory droplets arising from procedures such as intubation, and from splashing of secretions (including respiratory secretions), blood, body fluids or excretions.

The face shield comprises a 3D printed headband, a laser cut PET visor (with anti-fog coating) and is kept in place with a laser-cut adjustable strap. Building on an open-source headband design originally from HP, the team made modifications to ensure the face shield could pass a regulatory test by BSI to ensure the highest level of protection is provided. The face shields successfully passed the BSI tests and are CE approved for use as part of PPE for healthcare workers’ protection against COVID-19 in both hospital and community environments. The flexibility of Additive Manufacturing and laser cutting technology made it possible to arrive at a design, get it tested, approved, manufactured, and delivered in a very quick timeframe (under a month). Thousands of devices are now being used by local doctors and hospitals. 

As well as using their own EOS Laser Sintering equipment, the University of Nottingham’s engineering team have been heavily supported by Matsuura UK to produce the 3D printed element, using their HP MultiJet Fusion process. The visor element has been made with the help of local firm, Prime Group, and Nottingham Trent University are now ramping up for production of the laser-cut strap.

The team have made the design and its accompanying documents 'open source' at  to enable other manufacturers to produce the face shields -however, manufacturers will need to obtain their own CE certification.

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