OSWEGO, N.Y. — A group of Oswego County educators and local companies say they have partnered to produce protective face shields for health-care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In late March, a team from SUNY Oswego and CiTi BOCES began using 3D printers to manufacture the shields, which are being distributed to the Oswego County Emergency Management Office, SUNY Oswego’s on-campus Health Services Department, University Police Department, and the agricultural and testing analysis laboratory at the Port of Oswego Authority.
“It’s been widely reported that healthcare resources are stretched extremely thin in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” David Dunn, an assistant professor of biological sciences at SUNY Oswego, said in a statement. “Personal protective equipment (PPE), including face shields, are among the equipment facing critical shortages. While we hope and expect that nationwide production of medical equipment will soon ramp up, we felt that in the interim, we could help to fill the gap.
The team initially produced 60 face shields working from an original prototype, then shifted to a refined design incorporating suggestions issued by the National Institutes of Health.
The group had manufactured a total of 185 shields as of April 1 and production is ramping up.
“The 3D printers are the slowest process but we have more than doubled production rates so far and should be able to produce about 93 per day going forward,” said Daniel Tryon, a SUNY Oswego technology education faculty member who helped begin the initiative.
Exelon and Novelis, both with facilities in the town of Scriba, have assisted with production. Exelon is “providing 18 face shields per day, and growing,” while Novelis has provided filament for the 3D printers.
Maintaining the supply of filament needed to continue manufacturing can be a challenge, and the team is reaching out to those who might be able to donate 1.75 mm PLA filament. Those able to donate filament can email: email@example.com.