An engineering firm has been working in the fight against coronavirus to develop much-needed PPE to GP surgeries.

Alconbury-based engineering firm iMET is making PPE for GP surgeriesAlconbury-based engineering firm iMET is making PPE for GP surgeries

iMET Skills, and advanced technical training centre in Alconbury, is normally focused on delivering engineering apprenticeships, however, with all learning now moved to on-line delivery and their workshops and training facility sitting empty, they took to utilising their skills and resources to producing PPE.

“We’ve all heard about the shortages of PPE and we really wanted to do our bit to help,” say the company.

“At iMET, we have a suite of 11 3D printers and they were just collecting dust, so we thought we could put them to use printing plastic face bands, then on talking to our business partners we realised that with their help, we could produce the complete face shield that could then be delivered locally to our GP surgeries” said Greg Hanrahan, operations director at iMET.

iMET turned to Corby-based plastics specialists, RPC Superfos to help them source the 3D printing software for the face bands as well as then donating the PET plastic to be used for the face shields. iMET then reached out to laser cutting specialists, Lasercut, based in Orton Southgate, Peterborough who provided aluminium templates to trim and cut the face shields and finally to local engineering firm JJM Services, based in Huntingdon who helped by designing a customised hole punching tool to enable the shields to be attached to the face bands.

It was then all hands-on deck for the iMET team of staff and tutors who came into work to assemble the face masks ahead of dropping them off at the convenient Alconbury Weald drop off centre. In total, 150 face masks have been produced so far, but this is only the start, the iMET 3D printers are back up and running to produce the next batch.

“We know we’ve only produced a few face shields when thousands are needed, but we’ve felt proud that we have been able to help our local communities in some small way, fight this virus. iMET is all about collaboration with local industry, and we couldn’t have done it without the help and support of our business partners; this has been a great example of how by working together, sharing resources and knowledge, we can achieve new things,” said Mr Hanrahan.