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Press and media

NPL supports start-up, Protecting Heroes, in the production of PPE

NPL scientists and industrial manufacturing experts provide unrivalled expertise

  • Protective Face Shields put though testing to meet rigorous UK, EU and International standards
  • UK manufacturers offered support in development of innovative production methods
  • NPL scientists and industrial manufacturing experts provide unrivalled expertise

LONDON MAY 2020 – The National Physical Laboratory (NPL), in its role as the UK’s National Metrology Institute, has been supporting industry for 120 years by maintaining the national and primary measurement standards and related services.

This world-leading measurement science and engineering has been supporting industry, in the production and testing of equipment, from ventilators to PPE, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Protecting Heroes, set up by a skilled team of industrial engineers and designers, approached NPL in March regarding their Protective Face Shield. The Protecting Heroes team identified that as a global crisis, PPE from a sustainable source is vital to ensuring all medical professionals have the protection they need, for as long as they need it. It is also crucial that this equipment has passed rigorous standards, not only in the UK and Europe, but internationally too, so that those using it have the utmost confidence in the protection it is providing.

The Protecting Heroes team specialise in industrial engineering and design and worked with NPL scientists and engineers to take the product through the initial evaluation process, using NPL’s knowledge of the standards in the production of samples to ensure that the end product passed the following standards EN 166, EN 168, EU 4016/425, and received CE certification, the first time round. For both Protecting Heroes and NPL, the quality of, and confidence in, the end product were the two critical drivers throughout the development of the Protective Face Shield.

Of Protecting Heroes, NPL’s North of England Operations Manager Andy Morris said, “As a team we have worked together with Protecting Heroes to offer our help and support at all stages of the process. Looking at revisions and evaluation of the design, working alongside them to make sure the product meets standards and advising on supply chain and safe assembly.”

Of NPL’s support, Protecting Heroes, Si Freedman said “Quite simply we would not be supplying the NHS on the 15th May, as we currently plan to, without the incredible support from the team at NPL. Not only have they provided invaluable advice and support to the engineering team they have also be a great support in the design as well as assisting in the assembly of the equipment via the set up of a temporary hub at the NPL Sports Club in Teddington. The support has been truly astonishing, and the depth of knowledge and range of skill sets has been fantastic.”

NPL and NPL Sports Club were also keen to offer additional help and have made the sports club’s pavilion available for the assembly of the Protective Face Shield, Chairman of the Sports Club, Richard Roberts said, “We're still waiting to get back to playing sport at our beloved club but we have found a way to play a part in protecting the NHS and other care workers. With all the negative impacts that have hit the club and our community due to the coronavirus, it is wonderful to see our facilities playing a positive role in protecting the workers who are doing so much to keep us safe.”

Of NPL’s COVID-19 response CEO, Dr Pete Thompson FREng, stated “Public Sector Research Establishments have a critical role to play in the fight against Covid-19. NPL professionals steeped in a culture of delivering impact for society have turned their attention to this crisis and are working across boundaries with industry to accelerate priorities such as testing, PPE, ventilators and critical services to the NHS.”

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