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Local companies unite to provide PPE for care workers

Two Telford-based companies, The Wrekin Housing Group and Ricoh 3D, have come together to provide an innovative face shield solution for essential care workers.

The Wrekin Housing Group has begun distributing the innovative mask across its ShireLiving extra care locations throughout Shropshire and Staffordshire to ensure that its essential workers are fully prepared to continue to make a difference to people’s lives throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ricoh 3D has been working around the clock to get effective protective equipment to essential workers using the rapid prototyping capabilities of 3D printing.

It has been ramping up its support of the nationwide effort to tackle the COVID-19 crisis by using its innovative technology to produce 40,000 face shields a week, designed to improve comfort and offer a re-usable solution to remove the need to keep restocking.

The face shields will be used by the frontline care workers at The Wrekin Housing Group, who are supporting older and more vulnerable residents in their homes.

David Wells, Executive Director of Operational Services at The Wrekin Housing Group, said: “This is a wonderful example of local businesses coming together to get the job done. We’re really grateful to the Ricoh 3D team for their support. Their innovative thinking will mean that we will continue to be well-stocked and fully prepared to keep our essential workers, and our residents, as safe as possible throughout the coming weeks.”

Ricoh 3D already produces over five million mouldings per month for Ricoh’s core toner business, with capacity available at a moment’s notice at its 828m² injection moulding facility.

Mark Dickin, Additive Manufacturing & Moulding Specialist at Ricoh 3D, added: “Our site in Telford is uniquely set up to take a product from concept to prototype to serial production, and that is exactly what we have done here in a very short timeframe. This really is testimony to the strength of our supplier relations and the cross-functional team who made it happen so quickly. Local suppliers for the foam, elastic strapping and visor components have come forward across our production print, design solutions and quality assurance networks.”

Dickin continues: “3D printing and injection moulding are the perfect technologies in the fight against COVID-19, allowing us to maintain full production while keeping our staff safe by having only one or two people on site. It’s true lights-out manufacturing. It is great that we have been able to work with Wrekin to help them keep their staff and residents safe at this time.”

21st April 2020