More than 11,000 face shields have been rapidly produced for hospitals and NHS staff working in south and west Wales.
The Amman Valley MakerSpace (AVMS) scheme, which provides community access to new technologies, laser cutting and 3D printing equipment, teamed up with Dr Dimitrios Pletsas, of Swansea University, who helped to design the face shields.
Around 40 printing farms across three counties produced the face shields, which have passed clinical tests at Hywel Dda University Health Board.
Prince Philip Hospital, in Llanelli, Glangwili General Hospital, in Carmarthen and Morriston Hospital and Singleton Hospital, in Swansea, have all received deliveries of the face shields. They will also be worn by staff in local pharmacies and by district nursing teams.
The product is reusable and is biodegradable and environmentally friendly.
Robert Venus, who runs the Amman Valley MakerSpace scheme, based in Glanamman, Carmarthenshire, said:
“This initiative has shown the true value of cross-sector collaboration and innovation.
“It has shown how essential creativity, design, engineering and making skills are to both an individual’s wellbeing and society at large. We will maintain this initiative post-Covid as the energy and positivity are far too good to let slip away.”
Several local companies have donated products, including Haydale Limited, which donated its entire stock of 3D filament for the shields. Brechfa Forest West Wind Farm Community Fund also donated towards 3D printers and consumables for the masks.
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates, said:
“Coronavirus has had a major impact on all lives and continues to pose unprecedented challenges.
“However, we are seeing the very best in people, businesses and organisations who keep going above and beyond to try and meet them head on.
“Amman Valley MakerSpace is helping to protect our frontline healthcare heroes so they can focus on saving the lives of others. Incredible efforts such as theirs shows what is possible with innovation, collaboration, and urgency. I would like to thank them for all they are doing.”