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PolyU designs a new 3D-printed face shield for HA • Mass production in local factories will help fulfil the imminent needs of medical personnel

25 Feb 2020

In the fight against the coronavirus epidemic, personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields and disposable gowns are badly needed in hospitals. With a view to alleviating the imminent need for protective gear amongst frontline medical professionals, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has been collaborating with Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QE) and the Hospital Authority (HA) respectively to design and produce 3D-printed eye shields and face shields.

PolyU has mobilised all its 3D printers in its University Research Facility in 3D Printing (U3DP) and in other departments to operate 24 hours a day to produce 700 eye shields and over 800 face shields over the last 10 days.  With support from the local manufacturing industry with which PolyU has strong connections, the production of face shields has been increased to 10,000 pieces per day starting from today, and will reach 30,000 pieces per day by late March. It is hoped that this steady supply of face shields will help meet the imminent needs of Hong Kong's frontline medical personnel.

"During the coronavirus outbreak, solidarity is one of the essential elements to battle the disease. The partnership between PolyU, HA/QE and the industry is a good example that embodies the spirit of 'when one place suffers, aid come from all sides'. We join hands to overcome these difficult times together," said Professor Alexander WAI Ping-kong, Vice President (Research Development), Deputy President and Provost designate, PolyU.

Dr Vivien CHUANG, HA Chief Manager (Infection, Emergency and Contingency) said, PolyU has made every effort to develop a swift solution for rapidly producing face shields and to help us line up domestic production, thus we can fill up the stockpile of face shields to meet our need during the epidemic.  "I would like to express our deep gratitude to PolyU and all local manufacturers for their full support and active participation to make this meaningful collaboration a successful one." Dr Chuang added.

From design, to mould-making, and finally to production took just a fortnight. This is very exceptional in terms of the short time taken in manufacturing a product, and thanks are due to the dedication and seamless support from the industry.

"Since the face shield is a one-off disposable item, we chose a less expensive PLA filament material to develop the 3D printed frame and attached it with a plastic clear film. We also leveraged the studies of our School of Design in the comparison of head size between Asians and Westerners in order to design a face shield that better fits Chinese wearers. Designed by PolyU and made in Hong Kong, this is a testament to the competence and capability of the Hong Kong manufacturing industry. We can do it and we must do it. I am especially heartened by our friends in industry who have pledged their support without a second thought," said Professor HC MAN, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Director of University Research Facility in 3D Printing, PolyU.

[From PolyU Media Release]

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