UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital is among the local health centers benefiting from a challenge posed to members of the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to come up with a way to address the shortage of personal protection equipment.
Officials at TPE Solutions in Shirley recently contacted the organization and suggested that the kids research and design a production line to make face shields for local hospitals, with the company fully funding the venture.
Because the club’s robotics and entrepreneurial printing teams were already supported by the company, Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Donata Martin said the members jumped at the chance to put their skills to use for such a worthy community effort.
“They were excited because here they were out of school and trying to figure out something to do, because both of these groups are really active,” explained Martin, who said the teams were left with less to do after the robotics season was canceled and the demand for print orders disappeared due so many local events being postponed during the coronavirus shutdown. “So when [TPE Solutions President] Jonas Angus, who is involved with both of the teams, asked what they were doing and I said, ‘Nothing,’ he challenged them to come up with a way to help during the pandemic.”
After reading reports about a shortage of face shields at local hospitals, the team members decided to develop a prototype face shield using a 3D printer. The prototype was tried by a local doctor who gave the item a thumbs-up, so TPE Solutions immediately funded the purchase of two new 3D printers — and with the production of 600 pieces, the project was officially underway. Members of the robotics team managed the manufacturing, while the printing team did the assembling, according to Martin.
“It was a nice combination of both groups to design this and work on it together,” she said.
Angus said he was impressed by how the club members rose to the challenge to produce such a quality mask, which he said stands out for its light weight, high quality and low cost.
In addition to HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital in Leominster, the club is donating face masks to Heywood Hospital in Gardner, Athol Hospital, Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer and other local hospitals and medical facilities that are facing a shortage of personal protection equipment.
The project was expected to continue for the foreseeable future, and club officials say they hope to enlist the help of Boys & Girls Club members from the Gardner clubhouse to help meet what they anticipate will be a growing demand for face masks. Martin said the club has reached out to hospitals in other states that have seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases to see if they would like to receive some extra face shields.
Angus said he is happy to support the club’s project for as long as necessary.
“As long as there is demand, we will absolutely help them to meet it,” Angus said.
See Original Article here: https://www.leominsterchamp.com/news/20200723/leominster-boys-amp-girls-club-makes-face-shields-for-local-medical-facilities