Canada’s Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is utilising 3D printing technology to produce plastic face shields for frontline health-care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
OPG has teamed up with Ontario Tech University in Oshawa to fast-track the production of the personal protective equipment (PPE).
“OPG is excited to have recently received approval from Health Canada to produce these crucial shields that will help protect our frontline health-care workers when assisting patients,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s president and chief executive officer. “We have a lot of innovative and passionate people on our X-Lab team and I want to thank them for thinking outside of the box in anticipation of a medical supply shortage in the province.”
X-Lab is currently producing the headband piece used in the assembly of the face shields, and has also secured materials for the plastic visor and adjustable elastic strap through OPG’s vendor partners.
OPG noted that companies across Ontario answered the provincial request to innovate and businesses such as Protagon Display and Filaments supplied material to help develop the design.
OPG said the first batch of 200 face shields is expected to be ready for shipment to Ontario’s Ministry of Health on 8 April. Plans are in place to increase production of the shields to 500 a week.
The ministry will distribute the shields to hospitals, care homes and other essential health-care providers.
Earlier OPG donated 17,500 Tyvek suits to the Province of Ontario for frontline health-care workers.
OPG uses Tyvek suits for nuclear workers, however the suits are also used by healthcare professionals to protect against airborne diseases and other hazards. OPG said it's inventory exceeded its needs at this time and as a result, the organisation was able to share some of its supplies with the Ontario government.
OPG has also doneated 500,000 surgical masks and 75,000 N95 masks to the Province of Ontario in response to the growing shortage of PPE in hospitals and healthcare facilities.
Meanwhile, the start of refurbishment of unit 3 at the Darlington nuclear power plant has been rescheduled for this autumn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OPG announced. The company said it will keep the reactor in operation until the revised start date so it can accommodate public health guidelines on site and help provide essential electricity for Ontario at a time when is needed "more than ever". The refurbishment had been scheduled to begin in early spring.
Photo: 3D printing specialist Mike Di Lisi wears a 3D-printed face shield at OPG's X-Lab innovation hub (credit: OPG)