Forth Valley College technician helped set up PPE production line

People across the country responded to the initial lack of PPE and a technician from the local college played his part.

Monday, 18th May 2020, 4:45 pm
Ross McGeever, a mechanical technician from Forth Valley College, with some of the plastic visors made using the 3D printers
Ross McGeever, a mechanical technician from Forth Valley College, with some of the plastic visors made using the 3D printers

A mechanical technician from Forth Valley College used his 3D printing skills to help set up a production line of essential protective equipment to help with the coronavirus pandemic in Scotland.

Ross McGeever was intrinsic in helping to set up the 3D printers for Larbert High School, the Innovation School at Kelvinside Academy and Caldervale High School – and their wider partner schools’ network – to print off plastic face visors and frames after responding to a lack of personal protective equipment for use on the NHS frontline.

Since March 20 the schools have produced and delivered more than 30,000 custom-built visors to hospitals, surgeries, pharmacies and care homes across Scotland, including Glasgow Royal Infirmary, Queen Elizabeth, Wishaw General Hospital, Aberdeen Royal, Dundee Psychiatric Unit and the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley.

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David Miller, director of The Innovation School at Kelvinside, said Ross was one of many people to have contributed to the success of the venture.

He said: “Ross was a huge help in addressing issues around our battalion of 3D printers and laser cutters, offering technical advice and fixing problems.

“He was also adept at fast prototyping, which meant that we were able to optimise files and printing times during the particularly heavy period of manufacture.”

Mhairi McAinsh, Art and Design teacher at Larbert , added: “Ross was a huge help in setting up the network of 3D printers on loan from Stirling University.

“Thanks to Forth Valley College for making Ross available to the Innovation School and to Larbert High School. We are all hugely grateful for your input.

“Ross came on board at the very start, at the end of March when Larbert High and Falkirk schools alongside Dollar Academy and Notre Dame High School, had led the initiative on the visor orders.

“We had made a first quantity for Strathcarron Hospice and their campaign through social media channels asking for people to donate materials for us, brought Ross into the equation.

“Ross’ expertise and technical skill has been used to maximise the potential of the 3D printing of visors and more recently mask extenders with NHS logos which are being manufactured. He has been a great help to the team.”

And Ross said he was “happy to help”.

“Most people with an engineering background right now are frustrated because they can’t really do anything to help, even though they want to,” he said.

“But I have been working with the 3D printers in the college regularly on engineering projects and that has allowed me to get involved.

“I am sure there will be a lot of good to come out of this in the future and the students to come along in the months and years to come will benefit from what we have learned and managed to achieve.”

Dr Ken Thomson, principal of Forth Valley College, said: “What a great effort by Ross in using his skills and expertise in such an important project at such a critical time for the NHS and our country.

“We are so proud of his involvement in what has proven to be a life-saving operation.

“Well done to him and everyone at Larbert High School, the Innovation School at Kelvinside and Caldervale High School for their innovation, ingenuity and

commitment to the greater good.”

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