SHIRLEY — For Jonas Angus, president of TPE Solutions Inc., partnering with students at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster to produce face shields for doctors and nurses on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic seemed like a natural fit.
“We wanted to inspire the students and at the same time expose them to engineering, science and understanding entrepreneurship,” Angus, who is an engineer, said about the project to build face shields using 3-D printing equipment his company provided for the start-up venture.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Angus, who is a board member of the B&G Club of Fitchburg and Leominster, contacted Donata Martin, the executive director of the club, and challenged a team of the club’s students to research and design a production line to make the shields because hospitals, in particular, were warning of shortages of personal protective equipment.
The students from the club’s robotics team and T-shirt business, which are already supported financially by TPE Inc., took up the challenge, Angus said.
When formulating the idea for the production line, Angus said, he has always been inspired by what former President John F. Kennedy said about sending a man to the moon.
“We didn’t know exactly how we were going to (send a man to the moon), but we did, so let’s just go in and save some lives,” he said.
The prototype was then tried by a local doctor, and with positive feedback plans were immediately made for TPE Solutions to completely fund the purchase of two new 3-D printers, he said.
The design of the face shield was based on a PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified) material, selected for its light weight, scratch resistance, superior optics/clarity and lower cost, he said.
TPE then purchased a significant amount of PETG sheets from Primex Design and Fabrication, set up shop in its warehouse to cut the sheets to the proper 9 ½” x 12” dimensions, and donated the sheets to the Boys & Girls Club which used them to create 600 pieces and kick off production, Angus said.
The club is now in full production making face shields and donating them to UMass Memorial Medical Center and other area hospitals and medical facilities that desperately need PPE. The face shields are also available for sale at $15 each to the general public, Angus said.
Martin said the timing of the challenge by Angus couldn’t have been better.
“Jonas’ challenge to the members was just what they needed during a time when their whole world was disrupted. Making the face shields helped them to redirect their anxiety and feeling of powerlessness about the virus and the uncertainty about the health of themselves, family and friends and the world. It helped them to think about what they could contribute to helping others and limiting the cause of further spread of the virus. They realized, they are not powerless,” Martin said.
“I am very proud of them. I am very thankful that Jonas was there to help and continues to be a mentor for our members and a catalyst for our organization in this time of uncertainty,” she said.
This was not Angus’ first project with the club to teach students about entrepreneurship. He also set up a T-shirt printing business for the club, paying for all of the necessary equipment. That endeavor, he said, has provided an excellent way for students to understand how to run a business.
“This allows the students to learn coding, engineering and science, many of the skills needed in today’s economy,” he said.
TPE Solutions specializes in both off-the-shelf and custom thermoplastic elastomer products, offering them to a wide range of commercial customers. Founded by Angus 30 years ago, TPE Solutions Inc. helps businesses with all product requirements irrespective of the end use. For more information, visit www.tpesinc.com.
See the original article: https://www.sentinelandenterprise.com/2020/06/09/shirleys-tpe-solutions-inc-team-up-with-bg-club-of-fitchburg-and-leominster-to-produce-facemasks/