A shortage of protective face shields for Rotorua Hospital staff has been solved by some savvy Rotorua companies.
When Scion and Kilwell Fibretube were informed by the Lakes District Health Board (DHB) of the shortage, they joined together to create a solution that could meet the needs of medical providers.
They worked to create a protective face shield prototype, consisting of a 3D printed headband, Perspex shield and elastic bands.
High Duty Plastics and AJ's Emporium both offered their help by providing a laser cutter and elastic.
Their work was given to the Lakes DHB for approval, who made a few changes to maximise coverage and a final design began production.
The headbands were 3D printed using industrially compostable bioplastic PLA at both Scion and Kilwell Fibretube, with the team from Kilwell assembling the components into the complete face shields.
Lakes DHB facilities manager Dave Gower-Rudman said the visors were modified after infection control recommendations and are now robust, fully reusable and fit for purpose.
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"At the time of receipt there were very few options available for eye protection. Even goggles and safety glasses could not be sourced in sufficient quantities. The receipt of these locally made visors was both well received and excellently timed", he said.
The 215 visors were delivered to Lakes DHB from April 6 to 9 with another 35 in reserve.
Additive manufacturing research leader at Scion Dr Marie-Joo Le Guen said this was the type of response you would expect from a Crown Research Institute.
"We've applied design thinking using the flexibility of additive manufacturing and partnered with companies on our doorstep to solve an urgent and critical problem," she said.
Kilwell Fibretube chief executive Craig Wilson said "this was a great example of innovative thinking while working under exceptional circumstances. It also highlighted the value of having a strong local business network."
The collaborative team was ready to fire up production for more face shields if needed locally, and Scion was discussing other equipment needs with Lakes DHB.