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Image of person wearing FP3 mask.

Teams from across Swansea University are coming together to support a newly established consortium – SWARM (The South Wales Additive and Rapid Manufacturing Consortium) in its mission to support NHS Wales’ covid-19 response.

SWARM is a consortium, chaired by Roger Evans MBE and run by TechHub Swansea’s Paul Harwood, reporting to Industry Wales. 

The NHS in south Wales is treating an increasing number of patients in response to covid-19, this increased demand is accompanied by a need for additional supplies in key areas such as patient ventilators and staff personal protective equipment. SWARM has been set up to coordinate available industry, manufacturing and design capacity, in south wales, to support the NHS supply chain.

The NHS supply chain is responding to get vital protective kit into its frontline services and local industry, design and manufacturing can help with the supply of personal protective equipment.  SWARM has launched its first campaign – to source a specific type of protective mask – FP3 masks and protective face visors.

SWARM’s Paul Harwood said: “Are you a company who can has FP3 masks that can go to our hospitals? Are you a designer who has a great idea for a protective visor and can make and donate some? If you are, we want to hear from you. SWARM can coordinate your ideas, supplies and donations and get them safely and efficiently into the NHS to help. Go on to our webpage and register your donation, we will connect your offers of support with the Health Boards and get things moving.”

Professor Iain Whitaker, Clinical Chair in Burns & Plastic Surgery at Swansea University said: “Right now, the most pressing need is for a particular type of mask – called an FP3 mask – and visors to go over the top of the mask. Evidence shows that combination is the best way to protect staff. This is not just about covid-19 patients, if our NHS staff have the right protective equipment, they can also stay safe whilst they carry on giving treatment to all those who most urgently need it right now, whatever their injury or illness.”

Swansea University Vice Chancellor, Professor Paul Boyle, said: “Swansea University is delighted to support the SWARM initiative. Teams from across both our campuses are already working on design innovations from visors to masks to ventilators and mobilising to produce hand sanitizer in large volumes to a World Health Authority standard.

“The great thing about SWARM is that it is able to reach out to, and coordinate, any and all offers of help, everyone from large companies who are able to contribute supplies right now, to one creative designer working at home on an idea that could help. We can all support.

“The city of Swansea invented the first ever industrial innovation system when it built the copper trade in the 19th century, extraordinary things happened right here in our beautiful, seaside city. Nobel prize-winning physicist Michael Faraday spent a summer in the Hafod, just a few miles from Morriston hospital, inventing ways to remove pollution from copper smelting stacks. Industrialists, designers, inventors and manufacturers worked together with those who went on to found Swansea University, and they solved huge challenges right here, more than a century ago. Swansea can do that again and help our brilliant NHS respond to covid-19. Please get in touch with SWARM if you’re able to support this fantastic drive”


If you have any number of FP3 masks, SWARM want to hear from you. SWARM is able to collect your information on their hotline 01792 277217, through their social media channels @SWARMCovid19, online or by email and pass it onto NHS Wales.

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