Covid-19: Paragon Rapid Technologies produces 5000 PPE face shields for North East hospitals in partnership with its 3D printing technology suppliers

Paragon Rapid Technologies, the North Eastern product development, and low volume manufacturing services provider, together with its supply partners, 3D printing technology developers RPS and US-based digital manufacturing entrepreneurs, Carbon, has been 3D printing PPE for NHS frontline staff in North East Hospitals. As the effects of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, continue to escalate, the need to protect NHS staff on the frontline has become an absolute imperative. The 3D printing community across Britain has responded to these needs and has rushed to assist hospitals and health workers across the UK through the printing of personal protective equipment (PPE) including face shields and goggles. Paragon Rapid Technologies has one of the largest 3D printing capabilities in the North East of England, offering a range of technologies including stereolithography, selective laser sintering, and the revolutionary Digital Light Synthesis™ technology from Carbon®.

As soon as the UK Government called manufacturers across the UK to assist with production 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 innovation, had created a CAD file for a simple 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 biocompatible 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 headbands 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 production 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 utilising our technology, the NEO800 3D Printers. As a printer manufacturer here in the UK we are well placed to help. We have set aside a development machine to print components for the face shields to assist Paragon’s
production capacity. Any little difference we can make to help the NHS save lives is important to us and we are grateful to be working with Paragon to achieve this.” Paragon’s Managing Director, Neil Cook, stated “We’re extremely grateful to our suppliers for responding so quickly. We collectively have the technology and the capability to help protect our NHS heroes, and we’ll keep producing the visors for as long as they are needed. Without RPS contributing to the print load, we could not possibly 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 hospitals in the North East, including those in the South Tyneside and Sunderland Trust and the James Cook University Hospital.