Page 38 - Issue 13
P. 38

Paragon's 3D printing technology is rushed in to help NHS front line workers
 Paragon Rapid Technologies, the GTMA product development and low volume manufacturing services provider, has been 3D printing PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) for NHS front line staff in north east hospitals.
It has been working with its supply partners, 3D printing technology developers RPS and US-based digital manufacturing entrepre- neurs, Carbon.
GTMA supplier Paragon Rapid Technologies has one of the largest 3D printing capabili- ties in the north east of England, offering a range of technologies including stereolithog- raphy, selective laser sintering, and the revo- lutionary Digital Light SynthesisTM technology from Carbon®.
As soon as the UK Government called man- ufacturers across the UK to assist with pro- duction of vital PPE and medical apparatus components, Paragon set about acquiring CAD files for parts and ensuring suitable materials were available for their production.
Carbon, a world leader in 3D printing inno- vation, had created a CAD file for a simple
Photo from Paragon Rapid Technologies – moved its production focus to help the NHS.
yet very effective face shield to be created using its Digital Light Synthesis printers and was encouraging its print partners across the world to go into production. Most resins created for Carbon’s printers are biocompat- ible and sterilisable, and specifically designed for end use.
Paragon has three Carbon M2 printers. Although these are some of the fastest 3D printers in the world, the print platform on this particular model is quite small and as such would not be able to produce head- bands in enough quantities to meet demand.
Carbon generously agreed that their design could be used on other printers, and
Paragon set two of its three large bed NEO800 printers to work using DSM Somos® resin. To meet the rising demand, Paragon called up RPS, creators of this industry leading stereolithography printer, and asked if they could assist in the produc- tion of the headband.
David Storey, Managing Director of RPS, responded immediately in the affirmative, and comments, “I am honoured that Paragon contacted us to help manufacture face shields for the NHS, and that they are utilis- ing our technology, the NEO800 3D Printers.”
Paragon's Managing Director, Neil Cook, said: “We're extremely grateful to our suppliers for responding so quickly. Without RPS con- tributing to the print load we could not possi- bly achieve this. Our hearts go out to all those affected. To all others, please stay safe.”
To date, Paragon is fulfilling orders to print and assemble 5000 face shields for hospi- tals in the North East, including those in the South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust and the James Cook University Hospital.
 Three GTMA suppliers in Northern Ireland join collective to supply 300,000 face shields
GTMA members and companies in the precision engineering sectors in Northern Ireland repositioned their operations to allow them to manufac- ture vital medical equipment in the fight against the Covid-19 virus.
The collective of businesses began working together to design, test and produce emer- gency two-piece face shields.
By early April, from a drawing-board idea, the alliance began churnig out the first of 300,000 face shields that can be used as personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line NHS medical staff across the UK and Ireland.
Adam Murphy, co-founder of Co Down baby products supplier Shnuggle, recognised his company had spare research and develop-
ment capacity and took the lead in getting together a conglomerate of businesses that was producing the equipment at zero cost to the health service.
He began a crowd-funding campaign at sors to raise £50,000 to cover some of the costs.
Metal toolmaker Crossen Engineering at Crossnacreevy and Lisburn-based Ad- Vance Engineering, both GTMA suppliers, worked with local designers and injection moulding partners to produce a tool for moulding a quick-assembly face mask.
Brett Martin in Newtownabbey, a global player supplying specialist plastic products for the construction, fabrication, print and display sectors, supplied the acetate/PET for
the front shield, and Denroy Plastics in Bangor pulled the whole product together.
Adam Murphy said as production was about to begin: “It’s remarkable how this has come together. Our emergency workers are keep- ing us alive right now, but they can only do that if they stay healthy. They need proper protective equipment. Face masks are essential, but must be used with a full face visor, and right now there are not enough of them.”
Around 40 companies in Northern Ireland are understood to have offered to help make more protective clothing for healthcare work- ers.

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