Solidarity technology: PUCP manufactures 200 face shields for those who care for coronavirus patients

Given the shortage of biosecurity material, an interdisciplinary team in our VEO 3D Room has undertaken the necessary task of 3D printing special visors to protect healthcare personnel. The first 50 units will be delivered to the National Cardiovascular Institute.

Autor: Oscar García Meza | Fotos: Héctor Jara

On Tuesday, March 24th, the team from the VEO 3D Digital Manufacturing Room received an email from the National Cardiovascular Institute (Incor) of EsSalud. In this, they indicated that they needed face shields or visors for the staff that takes care of coronavirus patients (COVID-19). Immediately, the members of this PUCP unit got down to work, in addition to coordinating with the PUCP Research Management Direction, as well as with suppliers and companies.

“Without thinking twice, the team took responsibility. We are using the machines and materials – our own and the university’s – as long as possible. It is remote work carried out with the aim of collaborating”, says Jennifer Wong, PUCP industrial designer and coordinator of the VEO 3D Room. It was proposed to make 200 3D printed visors, which will be delivered, as a sample, to Incor, the National Institute of Child Health and other institutions. This Monday, April 6th, the first 50 units will be delivered to the National Cardiovascular Institute.

In this type of situation, we realize the potential that 3D printing has, since it allows us to develop functional products in a few hours”

Jennifer Wong

Coordinator of the VEO 3D Room

 The chosen design

Globally, in these difficult times, one of the problems in public health is the shortage of biosafety material. This is of vital importance for personnel who work in hospitals, as it helps to reduce the risk of contagion from the coronavirus. In order to alleviate this delicate situation, digital manufacturing laboratories in many countries are building the required accessories. “In this type of situation, we realize the potential of a technology such as 3D printing, as it allows us to develop functional products with resistant and personalized materials in a few hours“, emphasizes Wong.

To select the most suitable face shield design, the VEO 3D Room team made four printed prototypes from different companies and communities around the world. After a rigorous comparison and evaluation, the model developed by Maker Madrid was chosen.

The design consists of a main structure, the base of which is in contact with the user’s face, a support that pivots on the base, two spacer rings and printed bolts. It is completed by a translucent plastic sheet and an elastic that is in charge of adjusting the visor to the face. Of course, face shields are used on top of masks. In addition to protecting healthcare personnel from splashes, it also prevents them from touching their own faces.

Used on top of masks, face shields not only protect healthcare personnel from splashes, they also prevent them from touching their own faces.

Compromised team

With the established guidelines, the production of the first 200 visors began. The team, led by Wong, is made up of Midori Sánchez, Henry Díaz, Juan Melgar and Sebastián Caballa, from Mechatronics Engineering; Keni Gushiken, from Industrial Design; Jesús Pérez, from Physics; Antonio Moll, mechanical engineer of the Krear 3D company; and Erika Reinkendorf, economist who participated in the Build your own 3D printer workshop. Each of them has donated their knowledge and time to help the country’s health personnel. Even these 200 protectors could mean a first stage if they manage to gather more support.

The companies Inversiones San Gabriel, Corporación de Industrias Plásticas S.A. y Krear 3D – Fabricaciones Digitales del Perú S.A. have supported this project with supplies and services. “Projects like this require the knowledge of the academy and the speed of the company”, says Wong. For this reason, Jennifer invites more institutions and companies to join this important initiative. If you wish to do so, you can write to veo3d@pucp.pe.

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