Harlow College supporting frontline NHS with vital equipment


A COLLABORATIVE approach across different sectors has enabled staff at Harlow College to begin the manufacture of vital personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline NHS staff.

The Harlow Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Centre (HAMEC), part of Harlow College, has received a prototype from Prusa Protective Printers, a company based in the Czech Republic, for creating a 3D printed head guard, and with acetate sheets sourced from the College’s Visual Arts department, production has begun on face masks for NHS workers.

Rob McGowan, Learning Coordinator in Engineering at the College, said: “We received information through a network of FE colleges which contained printable computer files and instructions, and we also were able to use a design produced by Prusa Printers who have been helping people print their design globally.

“To make a protective mask, the plastic frame takes approximately three hours to print, we can print four at the same time. The clear plastic and elastic take a few minutes to prepare. We hope to continue production at about 10 per day and will continue for as long as necessary.”

Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College, said of the venture: “Colleges are anchor organisations in their communities and are all looking to support our amazing NHS at this difficult time. We are using the resources we have to assist in any way that we can and have some amazing staff who are supporting this work. We are really proud to help.”

As well as producing face masks, the College has already donated other essential PPE, including latex gloves, face masks, goggles, gowns and lab coats and a supply of anti-bacterial solution, mostly sourced from the College’s Science labs. The first boxes left the building on Thursday, bound for Essex County Council’s Adult Social Care team and the West Essex NHS Clinical Commissioning Group.

The College also remains open for essential training for staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

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