OPG uses 3D printers to produce PPE for healthcare workers
By Kavita Sabharwal-Chomiuk
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is using 3D printing technology to produce plastic face shields to address the growing need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. OPG has partnered with Ontario Tech University in Oshawa to fast-track the production of face shields.
“OPG is excited to have recently received approval from Health Canada to produce these crucial shields that will help protect our frontline healthcare workers when assisting patients,” said Ken Hartwick, OPG’s president & CEO. “We have a lot of innovative and passionate people on our X-Lab team and I want to thank them for thinking outside of the box in anticipation of a medical supply shortage in the province.”
OPG’s X-Lab innovation hub is now producing the headband piece used in the assembly of the face shields, and has secured materials for the plastic visor and adjustable elastic strap through OPG’s its vendor partners.
“The face shields provide a barrier to protect frontline healthcare workers from spray, splashes and splatter when assisting patients potentially infected with the virus”, says OPG. Ontario hospitals have confirmed a need for plastic shield PPE, with some hospitals in OPG’s local communities at risk of running out of not only shields, but other PPE such as face masks.
OPG and Ontario Tech have already distributed a batch of their respective face shields to Northumberland Hills Hospital in Cobourg and received constructive feedback that helped inform the final design. Following the province’s request to innovate, businesses such as Protagon Display Inc. and Filaments.ca supplied material to help develop the face shield.
The first batch of 200 face shields is expected to be ready to ship to Ontario’s Ministry of Health on April 8, with a plan to increase production to 500 units per week. The ministry will then distribute the shields to hospitals, long-term care homes and any other essential healthcare providers in the most-needed areas of the province.