To aid in COVID-19 efforts, fiber optic cable, accessories and equipment manufacture AFL is utilizing 3D printing technology to produce face fields for Spartanburg Medical Center and Pelham Medical Center.
AFL began production after its applications engineering manager Kelvin Turner felt compelled for the company to help local medical institutions deal with the dwindling N-95 mask supply after noticing multiple reports about other companies providing personal protective equipment for the medical industry. A conversation with his mother, Anita Turner, who works as a nurse practitioner, further inspired him when he learned about medical associates conserving N-95 masks due to a lack of availability of protective face coverings.
“Looking into both masks and face shields, I realized that face shields were faster to make and posed no health risk to the medical staff when wearing them,” Turner said. “Additionally, face shields provide greater protection from exposure to bodily fluids.”
Turner researched distribution sources to purchase face shields and found that none existed locally. He and his team researched designs online, created their own design and produced a prototype of a 3D-printed face shield within two days. Their design, which consists of a 3D-printed acrylonitrile styrene acrylate plastic headband and a polycarbonate shield, was sent to a doctor for review and once it was approved, shared with other doctors in the community who requested AFL’s face shields.
The company has produced and delivered more than 100 reusable face shields and is projecting to create approximately 1,000 in total for local hospitals.