Essential staff working through the COVID-19 pandemic could be protected as they go about their daily work thanks to a new initiative being developed in Plymouth.
Engineers at the University of Plymouth are working alongside staff from Plympton-based Prestige Packaging to design and manufacture a new series of recyclable face shields.
Now fully tested and certified as meeting BSI standards, 20,000 of the shields have been manufactured and are immediately available for procurement for use by healthcare workers. If there is sufficient demand, that number could rise to 100,000 a week.
The finished products can then be supplied directly to frontline workers in hospitals and other healthcare environments, but also used in shops, hairdressers and other settings as the COVID-19 lockdown begins to ease.
The initiative was first conceived by Dr Antony Robotham, Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at the University, with the aim of providing a safe form of protection for frontline staff that had the least possible environmental impact.
He then began working with Mike Corran, Managing Director of Prestige Packaging, and the company’s Designer Dave Lewis (who graduated from the University’s BA (Hons) Graphic Design with Typography course in 2011) to make a high-speed manufactured product which is cost effective, but also recyclable.
The finalised face shield is designed to provide eye and face protection against contamination to the eyes from respiratory droplets and splashing of secretions, including respiratory secretions.
Its frame and strap are made from a folding boxboard that is 100% recyclable, 100% compostable and made from FSC-certified wood products. The anti-fog, anti-glare, see-through visor is made from a type of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) that is 100% recyclable and can be returned back into the production cycle.