Over 36,000 Face Shields Produced and Donated Thanks to Cooperation Between Companies and Researchers in Brno
Cooperation between companies, researchers and the Brno University of Technology has led to the production of over 36,000 protective face shields in just one month. All the shields have been donated to schools, medical facilities, employees of gas stations and libraries, and staff at the Brno Observatory. Photo credit: CEITEC.
Brno, May 13 (BD) – In just one month, the Brno companies Fanuc, ACAM Solution and Nejkov, working with the CEITEC research centre at Brno University of Technology (VUT) and FabLab, have manufactured over 36,000 face shields, for donation to schools, preschools and medical facilities, as well as staff at gas stations, the Brno Observatory, and city libraries.
The large-scale production of face shields was made possible thanks to the cooperation between the companies and the researchers. FabLab, a public digital workshop, started manufacturing the shields after acquiring the know-how from Prusa Research, and soon they were able to produce 200 shields a day, using 3D printing with PETG material. Cooperation with CEITEC allowed the newly-formed team to multiply their output by ten, reaching a production capacity of 2,000 shields a day.
The team soon ran into problems, however, as their method proved inefficient and non-durable. “Printing one shield using a 3D printer took approximately an hour and a half. Furthermore, practically all of Europe began running out of PETG material, from which the shields are printed,” explained Professor Ludek Zalud, leader of the collaboration and the team of researchers at CEITEC.
With assistance from CzechInvest, the science team then connected with Fanuc and ACAM Solution to solve these technical issues. Thanks to Fanuc, the team was able to shift from 3D printing to an injection moulding machine. ACAM Solution provided a suitable mould, which was in turn quickly produced by the Nejkov tool shop. VUT provided access to their chemistry labs as well as students to help operate the machines. “This outstanding initiative shows how Czech companies, researchers and universities are able to rapidly respond to the current needs of society and to get new technology to the people in a matter of days,” said Patrik Reichl, CEO of CzechInvest. The face shields sparked a lot of interest, and FabLab received over 6,000 enquiries through a public order form. The companies were able to process nearly 700 orders, and distributed over 36,000 face shields free of charge, most of which went to physicians at medical facilities, and children and teachers at schools and preschools. A smaller number were delivered to gas station personnel and employees of the observatory and library in Brno.