Hereford tech centre converts to PPE factory


The New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) has converted its administration offices at Gardner Hall, Hereford into a makeshift factory producing vitally needed PPE items for the NHS acute hospitals and local care homes.

Operated 24/7 by NMITE staff, the factory has so far manufactured more than 500 and delivered more than 300 headshields – 3D printed forehead bands with see-through acetate visors – to front line health care workers at Hereford County Hospital, local GP surgeries, Hampton House nursing home, and Wye Valley NHS Trust’s community palliative care team, among others.

In addition to manufacturing headshields, NMITE is collating and distributing masks, gloves and aprons for rapid dispatch to health care locations in need and is appealing to all local businesses who currently hold stocks of these in-demand items and asks them for a list of required materials and contact details to arrange donations.

Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, President and CEO of NMITE, said: “All the news has been about the need to supply PPE to front line health care workers, and we are responding by harnessing the capabilities of our team to deliver new engineering solutions to increase production and delivery targets and working closely with clinicians, senior NHS directors and our partners including the local further education college and schools to pool resources such as 3D printers.”

Beyond the factory and related logistics operations, NMITE accommodation at Gardner Hall and Miller Court is being prepared to be available to use by NHS and Herefordshire Council key workers as the demand on healthcare services and “lockdown” appear set to continue.

NMITE is able to support the NHS and other key workers in the community thanks to the local businesses and members of the public who are already making material donations. If you would like to donate, visit the webpage. 

NMITE’s vision is to help solve the problem of Britain’s estimated annual shortfall of at least 22,000 engineering graduates. It is aiming for a radical  approach and a curriculum to combine the best innovations from leading universities around the world.

It is  supported and backed by  engineering businesses, the Herefordshire community, Herefordshire Council, Olin College of Engineering (USA), professional engineering bodies and the UK  Government, which awarded up to £23 million in initial funding.

The NMITE sites includes a redesigned city centre location, Blackfriars, and the building of three new campuses on Hereford’s Enterprise Zone, Skylon Park.

NMITE hopes to be educating more than 5,000 engineering students by 2032.