UK businesses step up to the plate to fight Covid-19

Using technology for the greater good

The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a shortage of numerous products affecting all walks of life, with PPE for frontline workers being one of the main areas affected. To help combat this shortage, many businesses are lending their hand to support the production of additional PPE for frontline workers using their in-house production facilities.

Highly versatile laser cutting machines have become an essential piece of equipment for businesses operating in a range of industries; thanks to the variety of materials that laser cutters can process along with fast processing times and efficient workflows, many businesses which use laser cutters as part of their everyday work have been able to quickly adapt to the impacts of the Covid-pandemic and turn their attention to leading the production of PPE. For many companies in the UK, the fast processing speeds of their laser systems have allowed large quantities of face shields, visors and other PPE to be produced, very often at no profit, in minimal time for community projects, care homes and local NHS trusts, to name a few.

The most common materials used in the production of PPE are clear acrylics and plastics such as PET which are laser cut and then manually assembled. By laser cutting these materials, face shields, visors and surrounds for shop counters can be quickly and easily produced to meet the guidelines laid out by the UK government. Trotec, a market-leading supplier of laser cutting, engraving and marking machines has created a design file for face shields to help businesses looking to contribute PPE to the frontlines, allowing the whole piece to be cut from a single sheet of material, effortlessly optimising production.

Taking the fight pan-industry

It’s not just the types of businesses you might expect who have switched their focus in support of PPE production. Companies from a wide range of industries including acrylic fabrication, personalised gifts, universities, schools and even paper processing firms have stepped up to offer their support to the fight against Covid-19 using their laser cutters. This has been possible due to the versatility that the laser cutter provides, it’s very easy to switch production to a new material, even if it has never been used on the machine before.

Trotec customer, Patternise, are more familiar with creating beautifully intricate laser cut paper displays which are often used for events and high street shop windows. Rob Payne, business owner said:

“We immediately accepted the challenge to make visors for key frontline health workers, primarily manufacturing on our high-speed Trotec GS1000 laser cutting machine. We were able to supply 1600 visors within an extremely aggressive timeframe, and thanks to the support of our suppliers, we were able to supply all visors at no charge to those in desperate need.”

The worldwide laser community has also been quick to share artwork files and advice to enable even small craft businesses to easily switch their production to make PPE.

Alongside PPE, many companies have been creating other solutions to help in the fight against Covid-19, including social distancing signage and acrylic door openers which reduce contact with potentially dirty surfaces. Others are getting involved with cutting fabrics used to produce medical ‘scrubs’.

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