Engineers at BAE System’s Electronic Systems site in Rochester have joined continued efforts to ramp up donations of vital Personal Protective Equipment to the NHS and other healthcare providers to support the fight against COVID-19.

The company has already delivered more than 45,000 face shields with the support of UK employees and the wider supply chain, including 4,000 units to NHS and Social Care settings across Kent and Medway, and we now expect to donate more than 150,000 in total over the coming weeks.

The team at Rochester, which usually produces sophisticated electronic systems for military and commercial platforms, has developed a new face shield design, helping to further bolster our efforts to support the nation’s healthcare workers. Production started this week at Rochester on an initial 3,000 face shields, with up to 500 face shields to be produced at the site each week over the next six weeks.

New design face shield can be produced in high volume

John Russell, Deputy Director for Engineering at Electronic Systems Rochester, said: “The NHS and healthcare workers across the UK continue to make the nation proud and we wanted to play our part in helping those on the frontline. Our team of engineers created a new design of face shield that could be produced in high numbers using our smaller 3D printers in less than a week which is a huge achievement. We’ve now started production and the first of the new shields produced at Rochester will be making their way to our amazing NHS staff this week.”

All of our industrial-scale 3D printers in our Air and Maritime sectors are already producing face shields and we’re sourcing tens of thousands of face shields from our supply chain. However, as our Electronic Systems site in Rochester does not use large industrial scale 3D printers, a new design was created which reduces the number of components needed and means the Company’s smaller 3D printers can produce face shields more quickly than existing designs.

Design created by undergraduate team member

The new design has two 3D printed clips, with other components made from polycarbonate and produced using laser cutting tools on site. The design was created by one of the team’s undergraduates, Elliot Farrell, who was mentored by Chief Engineer Martyn Ingleton. The product has been named the Farrell shield in recognition of his efforts.

“Although we don’t have the large scale production abilities of some of our colleagues I didn’t want that to hold back our efforts to support the NHS,” said Elliot Farrell, industrial placement mechanical engineer. “To have the support of the whole BAE Systems team and the NHS to get the new face shield completed and onto the frontline so quickly has been an amazing effort by everyone involved.”