Firm donates 3D printer to Hucknall school

Hucknall National Church of England Academy pupils Daniel Bettridge (left) and Matt Taylor with Matt Tasker from  Ashfield healthcare company Brightwake. with the 3D printing equipment donated by the firm.

Hucknall National Church of England Academy pupils Daniel Bettridge (left) and Matt Taylor with Matt Tasker from Ashfield healthcare company Brightwake. with the 3D printing equipment donated by the firm.

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Students at a Hucknall school are benefitting from a very special donation which will literally help to shape their studies.

Computers, state-of-the-art design software and a 3D printer worth thousands of pounds have been given to the National Church of England Academy by Ashfield healthcare company Brightwake.

The equipment draws on the latest advances in industrial technology, enabling pupils to create three-dimensional images of designs and then produce hard copies of them.

Andy Topliss, Head of Art and Design Technology, said: “This is a wonderful addition to the school which brings to life what goes into the design process. It will help the students to understand large-scale manufacturing and prepare them for the world of work.”

Brightwake, based in Kirkby, uses 3D technology to design new medical devices – including its pioneering Hemosep blood recycling machine which is now sold worldwide.

The equipment has become surplus to requirements because Brightwake has invested in an upgrade. Rather than discard it, the company has donated and installed it at the National Academy and taught staff how to use it.

Brightwake’s Managing Director Steve Cotton said: “Our role in the local community is very important to us and we’re very happy to see this technology put to such good use. These students are our future workforce, so it’s a win-win for us.”

Teachers plan to use the technology to support lessons in design, engineering and even art. The school is also exploring other opportunities with Brightwake, including apprenticeships.

Principal Simon Jones said: “We’re very grateful for this gift, which introduces students to exactly the sort of technology they would use in industry. It’s brilliant that we have a local employer prepared to invest in the next generation in this way.”

Family business Brightwake employs around 200 people in Ashfield, producing of innovative healthcare products. Advancis Medical wound dressings made by Brightwake are widely used by the NHS and exported to 40 countries around the world. The company’s Hemosep blood recycling device is undergoing UK trials and being marketed globally.