Photocentric Innovator in Photopolymer, 3D Printing

Scaling up to meet the PPE challenge
additive manufacturing vs injection moulding

Paul Holt, Managing Director of Photocentric, explains how the inventor of LCD 3D printing was able to print 1 million parts a month and then compare the process to moulding in mass manufacture volumes.

3D printing face shields

As the Covid crisis took hold of the UK in the Spring of 2020, there was a massive shortage of PPE, exacerbated by a combination of restrictions of exports from China and increased domestic demand. 3D printing using FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling) printers arose as an immediate actionable solution, and companies such as Prusa[1] released open-source designs to be created with the technology. In the UK, a Slack group of hundreds of users combined their FDM printers and managed to make a maximum of 500 a day. Face shields were being assembled in homes, it was uncontrolled and unscalable. Crowd printing PPE like this would subsequently be banned by the Government.

In response to demand, Photocentric decided to design a scalable face shield to provide in large volume, aiming to deliver value, manufacturing consistency and optimal performan