A community response program established in April developed to provide personal protective equipment for medical workers through Operation Face Shield hopes for assistance in securing materials to produce their gear.
College of Engineering Technology Laboratory Facilities Coordinator Brian Pacholka said their production capabilities have increased markedly, as they have received the mold to create headbands for their masks.
“We can now produce a pair of bands in a matter of minutes, which outpaces our ability with a 3-D printer, which had a production cycle that was closer to an hour,” Pacholka said. “It has allowed us to produce more than 8,000 units, with around 3,000 still in stock, for health care operations who need this equipment.”
Pacholka said they have placed their face shields, most of which have masks created from overhead transparency sheets, in the hands of three distributors, who are sending them to Michigan operations and others out of state.
“I know that we have sent a supply of masks to a Navajo Nation group in the Southwestern United States,” Pacholka said. “We are also aware that Northern Michigan medical operations are finding difficulty gaining the PPE equipment they desire, and would very much like to help them meet the need.”
The volunteers working to produce face shields in Ferris’ National Elastomer Center also wish to solicit support from school districts or other operations that use overhead transparencies, so their PPE supply can grow.
“We would be happy to work with any group of educators or other donors, so we can help to meet the regional demand,” Pacholka said. “Our COVID-19 Community Response Team Co-Chair Jennifer Dirmeyer is the proper contact, so we can arrange to acquire the transparencies, or other shield materials so that we can continue production.”
Ferris’ COVID-19 Community Response Team has been involved in several research and outreach initiatives since the professionals and educators came together in early March.