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Sailor Sean recognised for his effort to support Covid response

6 November 2020
A Plymouth sailor has been singled out for his efforts meeting the massive national demand for PPE during the pandemic.

Despite having little knowledge or training in the use of 3D printers in his workshop in Devonport Naval Base, Engineering Technician Sean Bramwell threw himself into learning the basics of 3D printing and becoming familiar with plastic manufacturing processes when the pandemic struck.

Sean, who’s part of a marine engineering team looking after Plymouth-based warships, helped with the urgent production of PPE components – chiefly visor headbands – in collaboration with defence firm Babcock.

Sean quickly immersed himself in identifying problems and learning to get the most out of the printers which also broadened the knowledge and skills of his shipmates. Initially, knowledge of 3D printing in the team was low and understanding the processes and interaction between the machines and software caused several problems.

Sean identified work-arounds discovered talking with specialists at MOD Abbey Wood, Babcock, communicating with the 3D printer community and also via online learning carried out in his own time.

At the height of production, workshop staff manned the machines seven days a week for a month – including the Easter break, which Sein forfeited.

Having begun producing just six visors a day, by the end more than two dozen were leaving the workshop daily; in all the team provided around 500 units… which were promptly delivered to local NHS facilities and care homes.

Sean’s efforts have earned him a Herbert Lott Award, plus a cheque for £250.

“Due to the Covid outbreak I was given the opportunity by my workshop warrant officer to develop these new skills and share them around the wider team; it felt very satisfying that I was empowered to do so and now have the greatest understanding of 3D printing in my workplace,” said Sean.

“With members of my family employed in the NHS, this project was something that was close to my heart and I enjoyed the opportunity to help as many front-line workers as I could during the shortage of PPE.”

Due to the Covid outbreak I was given the opportunity by my workshop warrant officer to develop these new skills and share them around the wider team; it felt very satisfying that I was empowered to do so and now have the greatest understanding of 3D printing in my workplace.

Sean Bramwell

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