Tata Motors European Technical Centre creates face visors for West Midlands schools

A Coventry-based automotive centre of excellence has started producing face shields for local schools as children begin to return to the classroom.

The Design Modelling Operations team at Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC) have been using their skills during lockdown to produce hundreds of coronavirus face shields for local hospitals, including Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Now the team has received orders from Midlands schools as they gradually welcome more pupils through their doors, including Lapal Primary School in Halesowen and Woodthorpe Junior and Infant School in Birmingham.

Lapal Primary School is using the face shields for staff when they are administering first aid to pupils and when interacting with pupils who suffer from asthma.

Laura Atkinson, Assistant Head at the school, said: "We are extremely grateful for these visors, which are helping to ease anxiety and concern for all involved during the transitional period of welcoming larger numbers of staff and children back into school.

"Staff have commented on the exceptional quality of the visors and how safe they feel when using them. We cannot thank TMETC enough."

Linda McGrath, Head Teacher at Woodthorpe Junior and Infant School, said: "We are very thankful to TMETC for providing our school with 20 face shields.

"It has enabled us to better equip staff with the protective equipment required in order to open more widely to more pupils."

The other schools to receive support are Lutley Primary School (Halesowen), Loughton School (Milton Keynes), Long Itchington CofE Academy (Southam) and Coundon Primary School (Coventry).

Russell Beecroft, General Manager of Design Modelling Operations at TMETC, said: "We have been proud to use the resources at our disposal to make face shields for NHS staff in our area, but now the need appears to have switched to other areas.

"We've supplied several schools with our visors and we've had some tremendous feedback. It's a great feeling to know we are helping to keep keyworkers and schoolchildren safe."

Three 3D printers are being used to create the main frame and then the five-strong TMETC team are assembling the masks at their homes using the additional materials.

More than 250 face shields have been delivered to nurses and doctors at Birmingham Children's Hospital, a GP surgery in Oldbury and George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton.

CAD specialists at TMETC took a pre-existing visor design file and tweaked it to optimise printing time. Additional materials were added to make it more comfortable to wear.

Russell added: "We have tried to make these visors as comfortable as possible so that the wearer can concentrate on the job at hand."

TMETC was launched in 2005 as a UK-based centre of excellence for automotive design and engineering for Tata Motors. Its team of engineering experts develop vehicle technologies to meet the needs of future generations in the world of autonomous, connected, electric and shared mobility.

The company's National Automotive Innovation Centre home was officially opened by HRH The Prince of Wales in February.