Based on an initiative, concept and design by Western University, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada is now producing approximately 500 medical face shields per day to support Canada’s fight against COVID-19.
The London-based global aerospace and defence company is filling orders daily from hospitals, medical offices and health practitioners across the province with plans to expand further if the demand is there.
The project started last month at Western’s University Machine Services (UMS) – an ancillary service based in Western Engineering. The advanced manufacturing team, led by UMS Manager Clayton Cook, sheared and formed polycarbonate (PETG) to create the shield and attached Velcro fasteners, which were designed and 3D-printed by the Western Physics and Astronomy Machine Shop, to the completed masks to allow for adjustable head placement.
Cook and his UMS team provided designs and initial materials to General Dynamics to supersize the project and now the defence company is sourcing its own materials to meet growing demands.
“The strength of London is built on partnerships. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when General Dynamics joined this project and ramped up production so quickly,” says Peter White, Western’s Executive Director, Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships. “We’re so pleased to be working together on this project, which is obviously so important to everyone in the community.”
More than 11,000 medical face shields have been ordered since production started in mid-April and General Dynamics and Western have already delivered 8,000 – completely free of charge.
John Ellison, Vice President and General Manager of General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada, says Western’s initiative is a great idea and the company is happy to collaborate on the project.
“We were looking for a natural fit to contribute in a positive way here in Canada and abroad during this global pandemic, and when we learned what Western was doing with medical face shields, we wanted to connect right away because it was a great idea and we knew we could help,” says Ellison.
Face shields are vitally important to the global fight against COVID-19 as they extend the duration of surgical masks used by healthcare workers (HCW) interacting with at-risk patients and they also help prevent potential spreading of the virus by HCW to others in medical settings.
The Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium (AMC) is supporting this initiative. Hospitals and other health care providers looking to order medical face shields should contact Lee Smithson, AMC Western’s Business Development Lead at firstname.lastname@example.org
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