Project Control apprentices partner with the NHS

We were approached by our customer East Lancs NHS Trust, via the Electronic Biomedical Engineering department, as they had a problem with a monitor on an anaesthetic system widely used in operating theatres across their sites in Blackburn and Burnley. A small part which attached the monitor was not fit for purpose and they asked the Project Control apprentices from our engineering department to design a bespoke replacement.

Two first-year Project Control apprentices Jonathan Shepherd and Adam Royle-Pryor took up the challenge, visiting the site to take pictures and liaise with staff on what needed improving. They then used Auto Desk Inventor software to create their first design.

Jonathan Shepherd, 16, from Warrington said;

“Being a first year apprentice I have never had the experience of being involved in a real project before. It has taught me that it is necessary to gather as much information as to ensure you are doing exactly what is asked of you. I also think it will give me the confidence in future projects when going back to my company. Now that I have been involved for a few weeks it has made me realise I will be going into the job that is right for me.”

A prototype was realised in PLA, a type of plastic known as a thermoplastic. Thermoplastics become soft and moldable when heated and return to a solid when cooled. This process can be repeated again and again and makes the material perfect for use in 3D printing technologies. After testing on-site, the prototype underwent some minor modifications.

Martin Cottam, Senior Medical Technical Officer in the department of Medical Technologies at East Lancs NHS Trust said:

“East Lancs Hospitals NHS Trust has had close links with Training 2000 for a number of years. Recently the Trust has invested in a large number of new anaesthetic and patient monitoring equipment across our Blackburn & Burnley Hospitals. Due to how the Trust is using the new equipment it was necessary to design a bespoke bracket for the patient monitoring to attach to the anaesthetic machines.

We as a Trust decided to ask Training 2000 if some of their apprentices would like to get involved with the project from the design stage through the prototype and finally produce the bespoke bracket for use in the Operating Theatres.

Although the project is still at the prototype stage at the moment, we are more than happy in the professionalism and ability of the Project Control apprentices and how Training 2000 are dealing with the project.”

The design was so successful that twenty brackets will now be produced in aluminium and rolled out across the East Lancs NHS Trust sites and possibly eventually throughout the NHS. Using innovative software and 3D printing technology, our learners created a bespoke product which has and will continue to significantly help the local hospital. This part has made the monitor extremely user friendly for medical staff in potentially complex and highly pressured situations.

Lynda Farrell, Business Manager of Engineering added;

“The aim of the project is to solve a problem for our customer, the NHS, but projects like this also highlight we have a culture of innovation, improvement and investment here at Training 2000. We believe in honing higher technical skills which are critical for keeping pace with the industry.”

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