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Royal Marines receive donation of 1,000 University of Sussex face shields for mass vaccination programme
By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Thursday, 10 December 2020
The Royal Marines Charity have collected 1,000 face shields made-to-order and donated free of charge by engineers at the University of Sussex.
The high-quality PPE was collected by Richie Puttock, Operations Director (East) of the Royal Marines Charity, from Harri Koivisto, Teaching Fellow in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Sussex.
Mr Koivisto designed the protective equipment together with a small group of engineers, and leads the volunteer project to mass produce the items in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, made possible from the University’s COVID Response Programme financed by the Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF).
The face shields will be used by the Royal Marines, should they be required to assist with the roll-out of the mass vaccination programme nationwide.
Mr Puttock said: “We would like to thank all the staff and students involved in this project and to remind them that they are the unsung heroes of this pandemic.”
Mr Koivisto said: “This project has seen many staff and students generously donating their free time for manufacturing the face shields. It is heart-warming to know, for all our volunteers, that we can make a small positive contribution in the fight against the pandemic. It is occasions like these that makes us glad to give our time to the project.
“We are donating all 1,000 of the face shields free of charge, because it’s for such a good cause. We are honoured that we can help support the Royal Marines and the mass vaccination programme.”
In April, engineers at the University developed a way to produce large numbers of high-quality face shields using laser cutters.
The face shields passed stringent CE certification tests, granting the University team a one-year Covid-19 CE certificate permitting the design to be sold commercially and safe for the use by healthcare workers, first responders, and staff at commercial enterprises such as shops, hairdressers, private care homes and dentists.
The shields are lightweight, easy to disinfect, reusable, and designed with a clever click-fit mechanism, which allows them to be flat-packed – so that they can be stored efficiently and assembled quickly whenever needed. The design is also partially recyclable, and the team are able to offer spare visors for the shields in order to significantly extend the lifetime of the product and reduce the environmental footprint.
The team have now supplied more than 3,400 face shields for university staff, organizations and local businesses.
About a dozen staff volunteers from the university's School of Engineering and Informatics, and many students, including a group of Master’s students from the Wind Turbine Powered Car Team (Sussex Powerstorm), are continuing to give up their time to manufacture the shields.
There is still capacity to distribute thousands more to good causes, local businesses and organisations.
Organisations and businesses interested in obtaining University of Sussex manufactured face shields should contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sussex.ac.uk/engineering/clickshield.