COVID-19

We are ready to produce urgently needed COVID-19 PPE

The global outbreak of COVID-19 created unprecedented demands for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), which keep front-line health care workers safe from infection and able to work.

PPEs such as face masks and face shields protect a wearer from being infected by respiratory droplets from infected persons coughing or sneezing. However, while face masks may be used only once, face shields are reusable.  As global supplies for PPEs run short, reusable equipment such as face shields become even more vital. An exponentially increasing demand is mandating collaborative efforts from qualified professionals around the world to use their expertise to boost supply.

Printing the entire shield with a 3D printer can raise costs up to $10. However, a combination of 3D printing and CNC machines with flat sheets of PTEG brings the price significantly down to less than $5

Printing the entire shield with a 3D printer can raise costs up to $10. However, a combination of 3D printing and CNC machines with flat sheets of PTEG brings the price significantly down to less than $5, says Professor Fakinlede. In addition, by producing a sufficient large amount with a commercial molding machine, the average costs can be as little a $1. And, electronic manufacturing equipment can provide the pattern.  The production team is currently equipped with both a CNC machine and several 3D printers.  The team consists of engineering students trained to use Fusion 360 to make Solid Models, simulate and optimize design, working under the supervision of Professor Fakinlede.

A strategic approach to scale, which will boost capacity to properly respond to the current emergency, will require the supply of equipment such as a commercial molding machine, to reduce production costs on a much larger scale..

Looking ahead we hope this will galvanize industry in Nigeria for the production of medical protection equipment.

A former student is also poised to join the fight in Nigeria, says Fakinlede. Okpamen Obasogie has the capacity to print about 500 of his S-Band face shields per week.

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In countries where COVID-19 has been devastating, the ability to protect front-line health workers is crucial to managing the death toll. So far Nigeria has yet to see the full devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are being proactive, says Fakinlede. "We are working with administrators and health professionals to understand the needs to be met. Looking ahead we hope this will galvanize industry in Nigeria for the production of medical protection equipment."

About the AUTHOR

Science to Product Africa Initiative (S2PAfrica) is in the business of transforming and shaping lives. We are engaged in finding holistic solutions to the educational challenges of pre-industrial communities in Africa.

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