Greater Brighton engineering firm Ricardo is using its design and manufacturing expertise to support the UK’s fight against COVID-19.

As a part of the national effort to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE), the world leading engineering consultancy is creating bespoke face shields for NHS healthcare staff and key workers in the care home sector. 

To ensure the equipment can get to frontline staff that need them as quickly as possible, Ricardo’s Technical Centre in Shoreham has been repurposed as assembly lines and logistics centres for the face shields.

It comes as the Sussex Resilience Forum (SRF), which brings together public service agencies in responding to Covid-19, makes a regional appeal for businesses to follow Ricardo’s lead in creating PPE or donate existing stocks. All of this will help protect frontline workers delivering essential services to Greater Brighton residents during Covid-19. 

The face shield is being produced to a bespoke Ricardo design with the firm using its manufacturing supply chain expertise to engage with an injection moulding partner to create a tool capable of high-volume manufacture. 

After being tested with local NHS doctors for comfort and wearability, the first donation of face shields to NHS staff and key frontline workers is set to be made in the coming days – just a few weeks after the process began.

In addition to the supply of face shields to the NHS and others in the UK, Ricardo is looking to make similar initiatives at its facilities in Europe and the US, for the benefit of local communities. 

The company has also offered its services to support the rapid design or conversion of vehicles for use as ambulances and as other support vehicles, and has offered the use of some facilities for testing or as logistic centres.

Steve Dyke, Managing Director Automotive and Industrial at Ricardo, said:

“As a world-leading engineering consultancy, Ricardo is known for its expertise and capability in innovating, adapting and bringing products to market at pace, and as engineers we live to solve challenging problems for our customers. 

“Our people have been anxious to use their engineering capabilities, skills and knowledge to find solutions to help protect frontline staff in the NHS and other key workers. The team has worked tirelessly to enable us to be able to go into production in a matter of days, and we are proud to be in a position to use our engineering capabilities for this essential task.”

Ricardo’s efforts come as businesses and organisations across Greater Brighton were asked to make donations of PPE so they could be redeployed to social workers, care home staff, firefighters and volunteers, with the NHS being prioritised.

Along the items being requested as disposable gloves, hand soap, cleaning cloths, blue wiper roll and industrial cleaning wipes.

Dave Miller, Assistant Chief Constable at Sussex Police and Chair of the Sussex Resilience Forum, said:

“If your business or organisation has these vital supplies to protect frontline workers, we urge you to contact us. We are short of items such as masks, hand sanitiser and gloves which are fundamental for the good care of individuals with suspected symptoms of Covid-19. 

“We are hoping that all types of businesses and organisations from high street beauty salons through to academic institutions that use these products daily can help us by offering stocks whilst they are closed.

“We also ask that any suppliers that can manufacture PPE contact us urgently.”

Donations can be made by contacting SussexResilienceForum@sussex.pnn.police.uk. Delivery and collection can be arranged.

The local engineering firm Ricardo at Shoreham-by-Sea
The local engineering firm Ricardo at Shoreham-by-Sea