A high-tech printer from Manchester Central Library is being used to produce protective headgear for local health and social care workers during the coronavirus crisis.
Before the lockdown, the 3D printer formed part of the library’s offer to the city’s business community and was accessible for free, via Manchester’s Business & Intellectual Property Centre (BIPC).
Until the library can reopen to the public, staff are using the printer to produce face shields, for creation and distribution as part of the ShieldNHS initiative (see Note to Editors).
The simple design takes around 90 minutes to print and is being widely used around the world. BIPC staff have been supported by engineer Nik Sheppard, who runs the Shielding Stockport PPE initiative, to source the necessary materials and resources to put the 3D printer to work.
The printer is running at the home of a staff member who has volunteered to take part and who has also built a second 3D printer, to double the potential output.
Around 40 headbands have already been produced, which are set to be attached to acetate sheets, to make them ready for use. Staff are aiming to create 15 – 20 new shields per day during the pandemic.
Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Skills, Culture and Leisure, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, said: “The Business & Intellectual Property Centre at Central Library is in normal times a fantastic resource for local people who want to grow their existing small business, or start up a new venture. So it’s no surprise that its staff have come up with this brilliant way to use the latest technology to support frontline health and care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.”
The Manchester Business & Intellectual Property Centre at Central Library is a partnership between Manchester City Council and the British Library. It is a member of the BIPC network, supported by the Intellectual Property Office, Department for Communities & Local Government and Arts Council England.