SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – As the country continues combating the coronavirus, medical professionals and others on the front lines are fighting for resources.
The LA New Product Development Team in Shreveport is using their talents to create a way to help those frontline warriors face the pandemic.
Each layer of plastic printed by their 3D printers is designed to provide another layer of protection for health care workers and first responders. The shields protect the face from splashes, sprays, and spatter of bodily fluids, protecting medical professionals from coughs and sneezes of potentially positive COVID-19 patients.
“This feeling that you’re doing something important,” said Onega Ulanova, partner of LA New Product Development Team. “That it’s not only for you, but it’s for others. It gives you so much energy.”
As a team in the business of designing and developing products, they are used to brainstorming solutions and designing products to fit needs, but face shields are a first.
“It’s the first product we designed and basically brought to the market within 48 hours,” said Ulanova.
When they saw the rise of COVID-19 in the community, they decided to face the challenge head-on.
“Why not utilize what we have here and design something that is needed and give it to people who need it the most?” said Ulanova.
“We’re trying to use the technology we have now to meet the demands of this crisis,” said Van Le, project manager. “We’re just trying to utilize it as best we can.”
The steady hum of 3D printers in their facility can turn a single spool of plastic into 30 masks. They can make up to 100 shields using their printers.
They call them UP Shields, and they’re still tweaking the design for efficiency before moving production to a nearby mass manufacturing facility. They believe they will be able to produce 10,000 masks each week.
“Sanitization has been a really big factor and making sure that we can disinfect them properly and then package them,” said Le.
They said there are no special requirements for producing the shields, and they are providing the pattern for free, so people may make them at home to help.
“The main role is to protect your eyes, to protect angles of your eyes and to go a little bit below the chin,” said Ulanova.
The shields are helping extend the life of face masks, offering some extra protection to help save lives.
“Right now, we see how global we are,” said Ulanova. “How our world is global. If something happens in one country, it just spreads almost immediately throughout the world. We are one big family.”
LA New Product Development Team said they’ve been swamped with orders for face shields since debuting their design. They expect to be mass-producing their design within two weeks.
If you’d like to order masks or make them at home, you can find more information on their website. They are donating 10 masks to any group who reaches out expressing an urgent need.
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