59 PROFILE and protect our health workers. We’ve been contacted by hospital and NHS units local to our office in Peterborough, throughout the UK and even across Europe. On the 31 st March, 2020 we made our first shipment to a local NHS unit. How does your equipment match the required skills? The beauty of additive manufacturing is being able to react quickly when needed. We have several 3D printers used in house to make test parts for customers and trial new resins. We turned these as well as our large format Maximus printers that were being prepared for beta testers, over for immediate use on site here in Peterborough. Within a day we can design, print and test a 3D printed part. If the part needs modifying, it can be iterated on the same day too, often several times! We can enable the manufacture of goods locally and at speed and scale. Consider the traditional manufacture of shield separators, with injection moulding you’re looking at around 1,000 units per day; with our fleet of large format printers in-house, we can produce 10,000 of these per day. Look at this page to get a feel for our printers and the volume we can produce in: https://photocentricgroup.com/printing- parts-for-covid-19/ Are you still sending out craft orders? Yes, we are almost business as usual. By reacting quickly, we’ve managed to work with our team to make the changes needed to ensure the safety of our staff, and adapt so that our production can continue and allow us to carry on serving our customers. What are your plans for the immediate future? The craft side of the business is utilising this time to continue working on new initiatives that surround new product development, branding, and improvements to our website. From a 3D perspective it’s turning our fleet of in-house large printers over to produce tens of thousands of medical components required to help keep our health workers safe on the front line safe and help combat Covid-19. We’re ramping up production and have a dedicated workforce working day and night to deliver the required parts to hospitals in need. Any advice for struggling companies out there? Now’s the time for flexibility and reactivity where possible. Suppliers, customers, and routes to market will very likely be restricted or temporarily unavailable. Our advice would be to explore other possibilities, for example can your team utilise existing resource and skills to adapt your product offering to better suit the world’s current needs? Reach out to people, listen and understand what those needs might be. If in the past you’ve only sold b2b are there any direct to consumer initiatives, you could develop to better serve and engage with the community? Be wary of being pushy, but now’s a good time to strengthen existing relationships and form new ones with sensitivity and empathy. For further information, please visit www.photocentricgroup.com Photocentric face shield timeline Day 1: 24 th March We’re approached by the UK Slack FDM Covid printing group to see if we can print this Prusa design of a shield clip. We look at it and see that it’s optimised for FDM and not LCD 3D printing. Day 2: 25 th March Ed Barlow, 3D Design Engineer, designs version one of our face shield separator. Within three hours he has printed and tested it. A verification of the efficiency of design that 3D printing enables. Day 3: 26 th March Ed manages the project and this is now on his sixth iteration of the design. Improving protection from above by enclosing the gap, also making it wider to protect the sides. We decide not to make the Prusa design and focus our efforts on our more productive design. Day 4: 27 th March Ed is now on his ninth design iteration. We make prototypes by hand and donate five to a local practice in Peterborough and 15 to surgeons to get medical feedback. It comes back positive. Day 5: 28 th March It’s a Saturday, but Niki and Arturs are in and are optimising the process. They make 5,000 separators, but damage almost 2,000 of them as they work out how to remove them quickly from the platforms. Day 6: 29 th March Sunday, and they are working, printing 3,000 parts. Our washing and post exposure can’t keep pace with our printing and needs increasing. We bring more Magna’s into the production process, now running 10. Day 7: 30 th March Monday starts by gathering an enthusiastic team with the target of making 10,000 face shields a day. Buying enough materials now becomes an issue. Opro loan us their four Magnas as they’re no longer making mouthguards. Day 8: 31 st March It’s the first day our PET film and our elastic headbands arrive and we make the first proper box. Ed is delighted to ship the first order of 200.