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Considering recent events Pembroke has taken this opportunity to put its 3D printers to good use and assist with the production of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Australian hospitals.

11 June 2020

Pembroke will create face shields and other Therapeutic Goods Australia (TGA) approved pieces of PPE being created with 3D printers to maintain supplies to hospitals and GPs during the COVID-19 crisis. Currently, many organisations who produce medical PPE are unable to keep up with demand and have requested help from any organisation who has access to a 3D printer.

3 D printers for PPE

Ava, Lucy and Jack (all Yr 9)

This provides a unique opportunity for Pembroke through both assisting in the COVID-19 crisis and providing an opening for students into the world of advanced manufacturing. It presents a real-world problem where students can assist remotely. As part of the Year 10 Design and Engineering course, students are exposed to a range of advanced technologies. The current focus is Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Printing. TGA approved CAD files of the required PPE designs were shared by an Australian group called the Open Manufacturing Alliance. These files could be accessed, and the appropriate build files created so that they could be printed. Year 10 students were able to develop these build files through Pembroke’s E-Program and submit them using the School’s online learning platform, Trove. Submitted build files could then be printed using the 3D Printing suite on the Technology floor of the new Shipsters Road building.

Once the parts are created, they are sent in batches to PPE suppliers where they then sterilise the pieces and complete the fabrication and manufacturing process before sterilising once again and packaging for distribution to Hospitals, Clinicians and Dentists around Australia.

The School will produce whatever possible until demand is met. At this stage, the Open Manufacturing Alliance is awaiting TGA approval on ventilators and other important equipment to assists hospitals in the COVID-19 crisis. When these files do become available, Pembroke will continue to support this initiative.

This project has proven to be a useful learning process for students, allowing them to immerse themselves in the world of advanced manufacturing through real world experience. It is an aim of the Technology faculty to constantly provide our students with exposure to new and emerging technologies such as 3D printing, opening their eyes to some of the unique possibilities and future employment pathways available.

Thomas Oliphant
Assistant Head of Digital Technology