Engineers at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, have developed a fast-make shield to protect front line NHS staff involved in the intubation procedure for COVID-19 patients needing linked up to ventilators.
The protective shields, developed in collaboration with medical experts and industrial partners Rolls-Royce PLc, Aston Martin and Multimatic, with wider support from Innovate UK, have been developed from prototype to manufacture in less than a week.
The MTC and associated partners are in the process of manufacturing the first batch of 1,000 units and is also working with the manufacturing supply chain to ramp up immediate capacity to at least 200 units a day to meet expected NHS demand.
MTC chief executive Dr Clive Hickman said,
“The acrylic shields with access panels for medical staff are manufactured as complete units or can be produced as flat-pack self-assembly kits. The shield has undergone several design changes during its rapid development following trials in three hospitals and extended trials at a further seven hospitals. Feedback from medical professionals suggests that the shields can be used during the intubation and extubation processes, and may also be useful for other medical procedures beyond COVID-19 treatment.”
“It is anticipated that the NHS may need several thousand of these shields and we are delighted to be playing our part in protecting frontline NHS staff during this challenging time.”
Neil Mantle, Rolls-Royce director, manufacturing technology, added,
“The team has been working at full speed, motivated by the demand from anaesthetists and hospitals across the UK. We have transformed an important idea into manufacture in such a short space of time and I would like to thank all my colleagues.”
Aston Martin Lagonda president and group chief executive Andy Palmer said,
“Times of crisis are also times of great innovation and we are delighted to be working with Multimatic and the MTC to produce the intubation shield for the intensive care staff.”
A technical pack for the flat-pack intubation shield and a video demonstrating the use of the shield are available via the MTC web site here.
Further open-source technical packs including drawings and assembly instructions will be published by the MTC soon, ensuring other manufacturers have access to the designs.
Find out more about about the MTC’s work here.