University of Utah staff creates medical grade face shields for heathcare community using 3-D printers

Coronavirus Updates

3D printed face shields made by University of Utah Staff. Courtesy: The University of Utah

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) — Staff members at the University of Utah are helping with the COVID-19 outbreak in an innovative way- through producing face shields for the healthcare community made from the school’s 3-D printing equipment, according to Heidi Brett,
Director of Public Relations and Marketing at the J. Willard Marriott Library.

3-D printed material for face shield. Courtesy: The University of Utah

Staff at the J. Willard Marriott Library, Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute are working together to make and distribute the face shields in light of a shortage of personal protection equipment.

“When the U’s Office of the Vice President for Research asked the campus community for donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), we looked to our 3-D printing team immediately,” said Catherine Soehner, associate dean and director of the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library. “Fortunately, we were able to gather the necessary supplies quickly and our team was able to get right on it.” 

TJ Ferrill, head of Creative Spaces at the Marriott Library, and Ben Engel, user experience developer at the Eccles Health Sciences Library, got together last weekend to begin developing prototypes of these much needed PPE supplies. They started with face shields that are used to protect the facial area from splatters of bodily fluids.

Ben Engel (left) and TJ Ferrill (right) collaborated to develop 3-D printed face shields. Courtesy: The University of Utah

The two began making the face shields once they reached an agreement with University of Utah Health that the equipment would meet medical grade standards required of average PPE. When the university’s 30 3-D printers are operating, they estimate that they will be able to produce 300 face shields per day.

“When we first started building our 3-D printing program back in 2013, we had no idea the scale at which our program would expand and how we would one day play a role that would touch so many lives,” said Alberta Comer, dean of libraries at the University of Utah. “We are fortunate to be a part of helping provide the protective shields that our health care workers so desperately need and we’ll continue to help in any way we can.”

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