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From | Monday 6 April 2020

Ron Dearing UTC is working with the University of Hull’s Aura Innovation Centre to design and 3D print the protective equipment.

Glenn Jensen, head of engineering at Ron Dearing UTC

The team behind a drive to create face shields for at-risk key workers is calling on the Hull education community to unite in the fight against coronavirus.

The city's employer-led school, Ron Dearing UTC, is working with the University of Hull’s Aura Innovation Centre in Hessle to design and 3D print the protective equipment.

The UTC is calling on other schools and colleges with 3D printers in Hull and the East Riding to support their goal by either producing prototypes using a pre-prepared file, or by loaning their digital printers to Aura where a 3D printing hub can be created and staffed.

Glenn Jensen, head of engineering at Ron Dearing UTC, said hundreds of face shields could be produced every day with an increased number of 3D printers and the right supply of materials.

Initial prototypes have already been requested by local pharmacy teams and other key workers anxious for protection against COVID-19.

He said: “Due to the current situation, lots of schools and colleges are closed and students and staff are working from home. Some of them have 3D printers which could be working 24/7 to produce these face shields for key workers who are desperate for them.

“It’s important to stress the shields have not been tested to meet any medical PPE standards, but they can be disinfected and used again.

“If schools are shut over the half term, we can come and collect the printers, or they can be dropped off at Aura, where they also benefit from clean energy generation to power the printers.

“This is an opportunity to really make a difference and support and protect key workers locally and potentially nationally.”

The team is currently assessing how to source more materials to continue their drive, as well as looking at costings and another potential design which does not involve 3D printing.