Punchline Business and Community Champion: Gloucester firm revealed as architects of NHS face masks
By Andrew Merrell | 8th April 2020
Just how a firm of architects suddenly transformed itself into a manufacturer of face masks for NHS staff is all down to some clever literal lateral thinking.
The ingenious minds at Gloucester Quays headquartered Quattro Design Architects are no strangers to thinking outside of the box - but their focus is usually on buildings, not medical equipment.
Undaunted, and determined to do their bit to help, eyes turned to the firm's 3D printers, usually used for very different purposes.
"It was a simply case of us trying to find a way in which we could help. An idea was floated about printing parts for face shields.
"The next day we'd moved our 3D printer to its new home in Longlevens and we were working on a prototype. At the same time we were also in direct contact with the local NHS trust who have helped us develop and approve the final design," said Jonathan White, senior associate at the Gloucestershire business.
"We are using our 3D printer, which is normally used for printing out scaled versions of our architectural designs.
"In terms of technology, the process is relatively straight forward with the printer and supporting software.
"The time is the biggest factor and we are pretty much 24-hours at the moment. We have been working on this for under a week and developed the prototype from Balcarras School. Materials are being sourced from around the UK."
As well as manning the mini production line staff are otherwise doing their normal day to day work. Discussions are understood to have taken place with another local company Quattro hope will be able to offer production support.
Mr White added: "We simply wanted to support the NHS staff during these unprecedented times. Many of us live with or know somebody who is working tirelessly within the NHS, putting their lives on the line, and we want to help protect them.
"On a personal note, it has been heart-warming to see how the nation has pulled together on this and other projects, we all need to do our bit. Having more time at home has certainly helped."
"At the moment we can produce 40 face masks per week, which we've been told will make a huge difference to those frontline staff.
"We are looking at the ways to improve the production line. This is very much a collaborative process and would like to thanks all those involved. Any support we can get regarding materials and production would be greatly appreciated. Particularly the 0.5mm PETG face shield material."
All of which is why Punchline has named Quattro Design Architects as one of its Business and Community Champions.
The campaign is an initiative backed by the Gloucestershire local enterprise partnership, GFirst LEP, and the Growth Hub, which runs the network of business support centres county-wide.
The aim of the campaign - to shine the spotlight on some of the great work being done by businesses to help their communities during the pandemic.
Punchline's Business and Community Champion Awards are sponsored by:
The Growth Hub Gloucestershire
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