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Belfast Met provides 3D printers to help tackle the COVID-19 crisis



In common with other FE Colleges across Northern Ireland, Belfast Met has been working to make best use of their technical resources and capability. 3D printers have been given on loan to a Belfast based medical firm by the College’s School of Science, Engineering and Construction, to enable Axial3D to increase their output to provide more protective face shields at a time when they are needed most needed in our hospitals.

COVID-19 is pushing our healthcare resources to the limit, with a growing number of hospitals running out of face shields. The short term projected need is far beyond normal supply chain volumes.

Damian Duffy, Interim Principal and Chief Executive at Belfast Met confirmed, ”In these unprecedented times, Belfast Met is delighted to be in a position to support Axial3D so that they can quickly supply more urgently needed equipment to hospitals, and keep health care workers and patients safe during this crisis.”

The shields act as a physical barrier that can protect health care workers’ faces from external fluids, and keep them safe as they treat patients during these unprecedented times.

Roger Johnston, CEO at Axial 3D said, "In the middle of this terrible pandemic, we are getting incredible offers of support from many individuals and organisations around Northern Ireland. One of the most generous offers of assistance was from Chris Corken at Belfast Met, who offered a loan of eight 3D printers for us to use. This extra capacity is allowing us to really increase the amount of face shields that we can make available to health workers in Northern Ireland when we need them most."

The shield comes in two parts; a reusable head band, that is easy to disinfect, and the face shields themselves that can be single use or multi use, subject to hospital disinfecting policies. The shield is easy to assemble, reusable, and comfortable for healthcare workers.

The 3D printers now located at Axial3D support a broad range of STEM courses from manufacturing and aeronautical engineering. The technology also provides a platform for collaboration across a broad range of engineering and applied science disciplines linked to the local and regional economy.


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