Working from home to keep people safe

Makeshift ‘home offices’ come in may disguises but two staff from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) have engineered a whole new look for their’s in order to continue making specialist face masks for those on the front line.
Christopher Bell from NewtownardsChristopher Bell from Newtownards
Christopher Bell from Newtownards

Industrial Engineers, Christopher Bell from Newtownards and James Robinson from Ballygowan, from the College’s Business Services have been working away to support the health service by manufacturing face shields using 3D printers at the College’s Bangor Campus but when the two ran into some problems the solution was to set up the equipment at home.

Christopher said: “We had initially set up a 3D printing farm in the Bangor Campus as we had access for two days a week for a couple of hours, so the plan was to use the time to start all the printers to make the face shields. It takes a few hours to make each mask from start to finish. We would then check the prints and restart the printers on the next day we had access to the College. Unfortunately, we ran into a few problems, which meant we were using precious time fixing them when we really wanted to be turning out as many shields as possible.“

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James added: “We got agreement to set up the 3D printers at home so we could continuously print parts and Christopher and myself could monitor and repair the printers as and when necessary. This method has proved to be much more effective and we are able to run the printers to their full capacity.”

James Robinson from BallygowanJames Robinson from Ballygowan
James Robinson from Ballygowan

Aurla McLoughlin, Deputy Head of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship explained: “This is another example of College staff and students have answered the call to help in the fight against Coronavirus from gathering and distributing PPE, to stitching face masks, to preparing meals and baked goods for foodbanks and vulnerable people in the community and making these specialist shields at home. We are immensely proud of James and Christopher and everyone involved in helping people on the frontline whist we continue teaching and training online at SERC.”

SERC is hosting a series of Online Open Days from 10am - 4pm, on Wednesday, May 27 until Thursday, June 4, with dedicated teams online ready to meet those progressing to Higher Education, Further Education, Apprenticeships and Training programmes. Apply now for courses commencing September 2020. Visit to find out how you could be #BetterOffAtSERC #OnlineAndOpenForBusiness Find us on Facebook, search SERC.

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