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30 April 2020
Historic Environment Scotland repurposes 3D printers to produce PPE

The PPE visors created by HES. Image credit: HES

Historic Environment Scotland repurposes 3D printers to produce PPE

Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is using 3D printers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS Scotland staff working to tackle COVID-19.

The public body has repurposed technology at its national conservation centre, the Engine Shed in Stirling, to manufacture visors, with 50 visors produced this week and delivered to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) maxillofacial department staff.

HES said it was working with Scottish Enterprise and the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce using “state of the art 3D printing technology” to produce the PPE. From now, more than 50 visors per week will be created for the NHS and other organisations with frontline workers.

3D printers were typically used by HES to create models for sites and collections for “conservation, learning and interpretation purposes”, head of digital innovation Al Rawlinson said.

“It’s been hugely rewarding to repurpose the technology to meet the stringent specifications required to produce these specially adapted protective visors to assist the NHS at this challenging time,” he said.

“HES is doing a lot across our various teams and with our partners to support the wider, countrywide fight against coronavirus.

“It’s an absolute privilege to help NHS staff in this way, and we would like to extend our thanks to the QEUH team for all their fantastic work.”

In addition, HES is supporting cleaning contractor Mitie, whose Edinburgh Castle staff are taking part in voluntary ward cleaning at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital, and catering company Benugo, whose baker at Edinburgh Castle, Red Walker, is making protective face masks for the public.

The public body is also working with the Emergency Conservators Network, recently set up to facilitate conservation involvement in addressing PPE shortages throughout the UK.

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