With rising demand for personal protective equipment, health care workers in many communities have been force to repurpose materials. While California, and Santa Clara County, seem to be better prepared than some other communities, the need remains high.
The Design and Manufacturing Technologies program (DMT) at Cupertino’s De Anza College is aiming to do something about the shortage. To tackle the increased demand for masks, the program is using 3D-printing technology to assist those on the front lines.
In a partnership with non-profit organization Maker Nexus the groups plan to produce transparent plastic face shields, using designs approved by medical personnel. In the time of COVID-19, any bit helps.
“We know there’s a critical need for this equipment,” said Mike Appio, the DMT program chair.
“We’re happy that we can use the De Anza College DMT program’s equipment and skills to help with this effort.”
Production started last week to manufacture plastic headbands that hold transparent shields in place with 3D-printing equipment.
DMT program instructors and lab coordinators operate the machines while closely observing health and safety protocols, including include social distancing. They are also wearing appropriate protective equipment and regularly sterilizing all equipment and surface.
According to De Anza College, Maker Nexus has already delivered hundreds of units to workers at Bay Area medical facilities. But with an expected surge in coronavirus patients, it has a backlog of requests for thousands more.
The department hopes to produce approximately 100 units each week.