Local company 3D printing visors for medical workers
YOUNGSTOWN — A company that designs and manufactures industrial-grade 3D printers for the additive manufacturing industry is using that expertise to help keep frontline medical workers safe during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
JuggerBot 3D is 3D-printing visors needed for face shields and then assembling the components — visor, elastic head band and shield, the latter two it purchased — to donate health care workers in need of personal protective equipment.
About two dozen of the visors are made already with the plan to “continue pumping them out here every hour of every day for the next two weeks at least,” Dan Fernback, JuggerBot 3D vice president, said.
It takes about an hour to print one of the visors. With the capacity at JuggerBot’s space inside Youngstown Business Incubator’s Tech Block Building 5, the company can print about 250 over the next 12 to 14 days.
Fernback hopes to increase capacity to about 500 with the help of companies that have bought JuggerBot 3D’s machines.
“We saw there was this need. We have printers with the capacity and expertise to provide support in this pandemic, not just across the world, but in our own backyard,” Fernback said.
Already, there are shipments planned for nursing homes in Austintown, Lorain and two in the Cleveland area.
Lead times for the shields have increased due to the demand across the U.S., and some prices have increased because of the same reason, but Fernback said the company locked in some suppliers. Fifty shields were to arrive Monday with 500 more later this week.
Fernback said consideration was given to printing other devices, but the company decided on face shields over concern on the viability and functionality of the other items, including masks. The shields will protect against droplets coming into contact with eyes, ears, nose and rest of face of medical workers.
He and his partner, Zac DiVencenzo, president, will assemble the components. There is a protocol in place to make sure the devices are assembled in a sanitary environment, Fernback said.
JuggerBot 3D printers process performance thermoplastics. Many of its clients are in the aerospace and automotive industries, but it maintains a printing arm at its downtown headquarters. In the middle of last year the company expanded to make larger machines for new orders.