Micro Generation UK Ltd: Production of PPE during the COVID pandemic

Project Description

MicroGeneration and Aberystwyth University collaborated on a CPE project to developed a photonics-based process to facilitate the manufacture of PPE products in the form of protective face shields.

Project Details

  • Company: Micro Generation UK Ltd
  • CPE partner: Aberystwyth University
  • Location: Ceredigion

During the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis there was an undeniable lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in hospitals, care homes and GP practices. Micro Generation UK Ltd was working as part of a group of companies which were seeking to provide PPE to various locations across wales, including Aberystwyth, Machynlleth, Newtown and Welshpool. The initial production of PPE face shields involved 3d printing and hand fabrication, which was slow and inefficient.

Micro Generation sought to work alongside CPE’s Aberystwyth team to evaluate the use of photonics to speed the fabrication and improve the precision of face shield manufacture, creating an additional PPE supply for Wales; specifically, in the Ceredigion and Powys areas.

CPE, in collaboration with the Micro Generation, developed a photonics-based process to facilitate the manufacture of PPE products in the form of protective face shields. The Enterprise provided production stock materials and the initial digital files for cutting the stock materials into the required shapes. Aberystwyth University then processed the stock materials, using the method of laser cutting, evaluating the process / production improvement and refining the digital files using this photonics-based method.

The use of laser cutting increased the production output of face shields by an order of magnitude, rising from approximately 2 per hour to 40 per hour. In addition, significant improvement in the accuracy and quality of the finished product was also observed.

Micro Generation assembled the components into full face shields which satisfied the requirements of PPE for use in hospitals, care homes, and GP practices. They then distributed them to the locations which were in need.