Heriot-Watt University begins manufacturing face masks for NHS staff

L-R: Dr Theo Lim, Nathan Oo and Dr Steven Hammer

BIOMEDICAL engineers at Heriot-Watt University are working to manufacture vital supplies for frontline NHS staff.

Protective face shields are being made on the Edinburgh campus using 3D printers and ‘highly-specialist’ industrial laser cutting machines, with an aim of 200-400 being produced per week. The university said that the technology can also manufacture components for ventilators, if needed.

The project is being led by the university’s academic and technical staff that include Dr Steven Hammer, Nathan Oo, Dr Theo Lim and Dr Michael Crichton. The team is working with health authorities to reach those most in urgent need, with requests already being received.

Dr Crichton said, “We’ve all shared concerns about the impact COVID-19 is having on health workers and patients. Our university has a unique mix of skills and equipment with experts in medical technology, engineering design and manufacture.  We all want to play our part and we’re sharing expertise with colleagues across Scotland so we can use our expertise more effectively and rapidly deliver what the NHS needs.”

Heriot-Watt University principal, Professor Richard A. Williams, added, “No one is untouched by the current crisis, and I’m delighted to see our expertise and equipment being put to use to support the NHS.

“We have substantial medical technology and analytics skills at Heriot-Watt and we are collaborating with the wider university community in the UK and internationally on practical research, policy development and supporting government initiatives to beat this virus.”