3D face shields manufactured by the University, to protect frontline care service providers and the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, have successfully received CE marking after inspection from the UK national standards body, BSI.
The certification demonstrates the high quality of the 3D face shield product, and is a testament to the expertise and skills of the technical staff involved in the project. The 3D shields could now be legally distributed within the European Market.
Colleagues from Kent’s School of Computing, School of Architecture and Planning, School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA), School of Physical Sciences and School of Biosciences collaborated to design and supply 4,990 3D face shields on-site for 11 organisations between April 2020 and July 2020.
Specifically in the School of Computing, staff worked together on the design, production and testing of the prototypes. Dan Knox, Senior Technician explained: ‘We knew that the main requirement of the shields was their protective qualities to prevent droplets contacting the eyes. We didn’t want to leave anything to chance so we set up a testing jig with a fake head and different versions of the shields in The Shed until we were satisfied that we had produced a design that worked. The standards and tests for obtaining a CE mark are understandably rigorous and we passed on the second submission, after refining our choice of visor materials to mitigate for any potential eye strain.’
The Shed is a makerspace for the exclusive use of School of Computing students and staff where physical objects can be made in support of academic or personal projects. It’s technicians are available to support students to use the equipment, but during the pandemic, they have turned their attention to manufacturing PPE.
Initially, 300 shields were requested, produced, and supplied to East Kent’s largest hospice charity, Pilgrim’s Hospices and were gratefully received by staff battling against the COVID-19 pandemic. After supplying Pilgrims Hospices, the project team then had a number of requests for face shields from local medical centres and charities.
Paul Sinnock, Director of IT for EDA and the Technical Lead of the project, said: ‘This is a fantastic achievement for the project team. The collaboration between academic schools led to the quick development of an innovative product when it was needed the most. The team is delighted to have been able to support the local community in this way.’
Carole Barron, Director of Knowledge Exchange and Innovation, said: ‘We are so proud that this project has led to the 3D shield product becoming certified by the BSI. The staff involved worked tremendously hard, sharing their equipment, skills and expertise to respond to the urgent requirements of personal protective equipment (PPE) in the local community. It has been a privilege to support frontline care service providers and the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic.’