Malvern Panalytical UK was recently approached by a local instrumentation company, Freeman Technology, to ask whether we’d be interested in helping support the volunteer effort to manufacture parts and support assembly to increase the units of face shields for distribution to front-line workers in the emergency services.

Freeman Technology provided the first prototype to our machine shop manager, Mick Randle, and through a strong collaboration, both parties created a production-suitable product which saw the shipment of the first batch of 17 face shields were delivered on 2nd April and we’ve produced over 200 since. Mick also suggested a modification to the design which has reduced the print time by an hour, thereby increasing the number of shields we can 3D print each day.

3D printed face shields parts

Mick said, ‘’Now that I’m working at home due to COVID-19, I’d locked myself away in order to concentrate on writing CNC programs for the Morphologi department, and I had two things on my mind:

  • When would I be able to come back into the office to run the programs?
  • Would my lounge carpet ever recover from the pounding it was getting from my wife’s online Zumba classes?
Mick Randle, Machine shop manager

Then out of the blue, I got an email from Rowena Innocent, a member of our Executive Management Team. She had been contacted to see if Malvern Panalytical could help with the shortage of PPE, not only for the NHS, but for all care providers, including doctors’ surgeries, care homes, and even the police! Faceguards are in short supply, and people who have 3D printers are producing frames to help. It was a bonus for me: not only can we help with the 3D printing but whilst that’s going on, I can run my Morphologi parts as well. Just got to worry about my carpet now!’’

Tim Freeman, Managing Director of Freeman Technology and Mick Randle, Machine Shop Manager at Malvern Panalytical.

A major element driving this work is the intensive focus by Freeman Technology who have been managing the enquiries and coordinating the distribution of the visors. They have ensured that the supply chains for materials to produce and assemble face shields have been kept open, overcoming the challenges of sourcing the protective screens and personally delivering them to Malvern Panalytical to enable assembly.

Ramping up production…

Since this blog was first drafted, Mick has been hard at work producing additional shields, which have been delivered to the following delighted recipients:

  • Joint ventures between MP and Freeman technology have gone to a doctor’s surgery in Cradley, two doctors in Cheltenham / Overton and one set to a group of field nurses who look after a number of children’s homes
  • Tewkesbury Deveraux Centre
  • Upton GP Surgery
  • Hereford x 10
  • Queen Elizabeth Birmingham x10
  • Bobblestock Surgery Hereford x10
  • Alexandra hospital Redditch x 23
  • Worcester Royal x12
  • Worcester Royal Neonatal x6
  • Salters medical centre Droitwich x18
  • Hereford and Worcester ambulance service x 4
  • Bromyard hospital x10
  • Leonard Cheshire King Street, Sileby, Loughborough x 11
  • Ledbury hospital x 15
  • Knightwick surgery x2
  • St Andrews Health Care Birmingham x6
  • Hereford county hospital x10
  • Field view residential care home Redditch
  • QE Birmingham x 28
  • Alton AMBER COVID assessment centre at Alton Surgery, Ross on Wye x6
  • Bradbury court care home Malvern x 6
  • Davenham house care home Malvern x6
  • Perrins house care home Malvernx6
  • St Michaels Hospice, Bartestree, Hereford x14
  • Rownan House Malvern x 5
  • Bowood Court care home Redditch x8
  • Guild House care home Gloucester x12
  • Breast cancer unit Worcester spire

…and there’s more

In addition, Mick has responded to feedback from wearers of face masks that they have been suffering with some irritation to the backs of their ears, and has been applying his expertise to find a solution to this quandary, along with his colleagues. As a result, he has produced a ‘comb’ that fits on the back of the wearer’s head to prevent this irritation…and the first batch has already been sent for use at Warwick Hospital!

Finally, we have joined a group called 3DCROWD which has created a network of people and companies to support this brilliant initiative. So far, 586,000 masks have been requested and the first batch of 80,000 is currently being printed by over 3,400 volunteer organizations and individuals.

A big thank you to Carl Murphy at Printed Banner and Signs Ltd of Malvern and 3P Innovations in Warwick for providing the screens.

A big ‘well done and thank you!’ to Mick and the team from all of us at Malvern Panalytical! Should any other 3D printing enthusiasts be interested in producing these face shields and masks, we’ll be more than happy to share the designs. Please just get in touch!

Hi Mick! Thank you for dropping off the face shields – they are great! 👍 They give us reassurance that we are looking after ourselves whilst we are looking after patients. Thank you again 👏👏👏

Dr Catherine Laird – Bobblestock Surgery

On behalf of everyone at St Michael’s Hospice, thank you so much for your very kind gift of 14 visors and 12 mask strap separators for use by our doctors, nurses and care team. They were very welcome indeed and much needed.

Lynne Carter – St Michael’s Hospice