SCOTTISH engineers, scientists and manufacturers have turned their expertise to producing vital equipment for NHS workers and patients in the fight against coronavirus.

Companies across the country responded to the call for expert support from Westminster and Holyrood and are actively involved in making equipment ranging from face masks for doctors and nurses to ventilators for critically ill patients.

Some are connected to the gargantuan effort of the Ventilator Challenge, which has lined up the manufacture of many thousands of machines with a consortium involving heavyweights such as BAE Systems, Airbus and the UK F1 teams including McLaren, while others are on a different scale but making up an equally important part of the equation.

In the second day of our special series, we highlight some of the efforts being made in the workshops, labs and factories around Scotland in the offensive against the pandemic.

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Edinburgh-based rocket company Skyrora has re-rostered its entire manufacturing division personnel to join the battle against the virus by producing face visors using its 3D printing facilities.

Skyrora said that it has “re-focused all its UK operations and has invested all human resources and working capital to help tackle Covid-19 in response to the UK Government reaching out to businesses for support”.

The company is to use the 3D printer that earlier this year created a rocket engine to instead form face masks that are currently undergoing final tests.

It is in discussion with the Scottish Government over a regular supply to aid the NHS offensive.

“We have produced 25 face visors and this week we will send them for testing and CE approval,” Skyrora said, adding: “Thereafter, production can be upscaled to 3D print 100 visors a week and then distribute to the NHS.”

The process has been fast-moving. On the same day that Skyrora produced its first batch of hand sanitisers, the company was contacted by Scottish Government officials about face masks. It has installed extra capabilities and is awaiting licensing.

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Skyrora, which produces rocket fuel from waste materials, has now also joined the division of companies mobilised to make hand sanitiser for frontline workers.

The large-scale consortium of significant cross-border industrial, technology and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors, is focusing on producing medical ventilators for across the UK.

Companies in the consortium have now received formal orders from the Government in excess of 10,000 units.

Ventilators are being made at facilities in Kelso in the Scottish Borders and Livingston, West Lothian, by Wisconsin-based manufacturer Plexus, and the rapid production push by its Scottish teams “humbled” Ronnie Darroch, the company’s European regional president.

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The Roslin-based Censo Biotechnologies drug discovery business, which claims to be the first firm in Scotland providing direct Covid-19 testing support for the NHS, said it will soon be able to complete 15,000 Covid-19 diagnostic tests per month in its bid to help the country combat the virus.

It is repurposing laboratories to process a minimum of 500 diagnostic tests a day, with the tests enabling the NHS to tell anxious patients whether or not they are suffering from the virus.

An injection of funds from Par Equity, the Edinburgh-based principal investor that specialises in tech businesses, allowed Censo to create the capacity to rise to the challenge.

The company has also offered the use of its 25 strong workforce of scientists to support NHS Scotland laboratories where possible and Mike Hawthorne, Censo chief executive, said “as a life science company we have spent 15 years finding ways of improving the lives of patients suffering from neurodegenerative diseases around the world”.

“But we are based in the UK and when the Covid-19 crisis emerged we saw an opportunity to help people much closer to home.”

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