Hi-tech help for NHS heroes recognised with award from Lord Mayor

Hi-tech help for NHS heroes recognised with award from Lord Mayor

Sixth-former Ukendar Vadivel has won an award from the Lord Mayor of London for his innovative work producing face shields for the NHS during last year’s lockdown.

He worked closely with classmates and a newly formed group called the 3D Crowd to reduce 3D printing time for Personal Protective Equipment in a collaborative effort that used both the School’s machines and pupils’ home 3D printers. Much of the effort both at QE and across London was spearheaded by QE’s Head of Technology, Michael Noonan.

Ukendar, who is an apprentice with the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers (WCSIM), was presented with the Lord Mayor’s COVID-19 Livery Award by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, William Russell. The award recognises the contribution made by livery company members during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Thank you very much to the WCSIM for putting me forward for the award!” said Ukendar, who is in Year 13 and is one of this summer’s leavers.

“I am honoured to receive it, and it is a testament to what everyone at 3D Crowd has achieved over the past year and a half. I’d also like to especially thank Mr Noonan for getting us as QE students involved in such a wonderful cause.”

With the NHS urgently requiring PPE as the pandemic hit the UK, Ukendar worked closely with the 3D Crowd, who had designed, and been authorised to supply to medics, a bespoke 3D-printed face shield.

He purchased a stock of the raw materials needed before setting about the task of drastically reducing the time needed to manufacture the masks. By exchanging ideas and designs with the group, he managed to get production time down from 3–4 hours to well under 2 hours.

“At one point, I was one of the top ten producers of face shields in the London area, alongside one of my fellow schoolmates!” he says.

“The past year hasn’t been easy on any of us, but when we can put our minds together, the community can make a genuine difference. Being a part of 3D Crowd and WCSIM taught me about the value of collaboration, and the power of working towards a common goal.

“I loved helping out the real heroes of our country, the NHS workers, who of course have given so much to the public to help the country get through the pandemic. I am incredibly proud of my own mother, who was on the front lines for at least two months, alongside all the other nurses at her hospital, and indeed across the country.”

Ukendar is currently awaiting the results of his A-Levels in Product Design, Mathematics, Further Mathematics and Physics.