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University donates 3D printers to support COVID-19 response

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Larbert High School staff
Larbert High staff with the items donated by the University: (L-R) Mandy Brown, Stefan Slater, Mhairi McAinsh and Rebecca Elliott.

The University of Stirling has gifted two 3D printers – and loaned another two – to a local school that is using the devices to create personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.

Four printers and 20 rolls of plastic filament have been provided to Larbert High School, whose staff have turned their hands to producing face shields for hospitals, pharmacies and care homes as they battle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

More than 2,500 visors – created using 3D printers and laser cutters – have been produced and distributed by the team so far – and they are aiming to ramp up the initiative in the coming weeks.

Rebecca Elliott, a teacher of design and technology, is leading the project. She said: “Since this began, we have engaged a wide range of stakeholders and other local institutions to join in the community effort – and the response we have received has been amazing. The feedback from health professionals has been overwhelmingly positive, with people telling us that staff are feeling much safer in the workplace.

“The University of Stirling’s donation will help us to increase capability and production quantity – we are thankful for this donation. The equipment is currently being used for face visors, however, this could lead to further PPE initiatives for hospitals and other healthcare settings.”

Jonathan Burton
We are hugely grateful to the staff at the school for helping frontline workers in the battle against COVID-19 – and it’s great to hear that the University has also thrown its support behind the initiative with the donation of these 3D printers.
Jonathan Burton Right Medicine Pharmacy, University of Stirling

Miss Elliott is working on the project alongside colleagues Stefan Slater and Mhairi McAinsh, with the support of the school’s technology and art departments. They are able to create four visors every 20 minutes.

One of those to benefit is pharmacist Jonathan Burton, who runs the Right Medicine Pharmacy branch on the University campus.

He said: “Pharmacies are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic and it’s vital that our staff – like those working in our hospitals – have PPE to protect themselves from risk.

“We heard that Larbert High had started to produce this equipment – so we put in an order, and it arrived today. The masks are good quality and they will provide our staff with important protection in their interactions with patients. 

“We are hugely grateful to the staff at the school for helping frontline workers in the battle against COVID-19 – and it’s great to hear that the University has also thrown its support behind the initiative with the donation of these 3D printers."

Leigh Sparks
The phenomenal efforts of staff at Larbert High in helping to protect our frontline workers is commendable – and we are pleased to be able to support this important work through the donation of 3D printers and filament. We wish the team all the best as their initiative continues.
Professor Leigh Sparks Deputy Principal (Education and Students)

The University’s 3D printers are normally located in the library and are used by both staff and students for a range of projects. On hearing of the Larbert High initiative, Professor Leigh Sparks, Deputy Principal (Education and Students), and Richard Aird, Head of Customer Service, contacted the school to offer the University’s devices.

Professor Sparks said: “This is a challenging time for everyone, however, it is great to see communities come together to help one another through this crisis. At the University of Stirling, we are proud of our ethos that encourages staff, students and alumni to make a difference – and we are delighted to see the same values run strong across Forth Valley.

“The phenomenal efforts of staff at Larbert High in helping to protect our frontline workers is commendable – and we are pleased to be able to support this important work through the donation of 3D printers and filament. We wish the team all the best as their initiative continues.”

He added: “The University sends its thoughts and wishes to all of those who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic – and to all of those frontline key workers helping to protect us from harm.”

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