As medical supply shortages continue amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Boeing employees in Huntsville are stepping up to 3D-print face shields to make sure our nation’s frontline medical professionals have what they need to fight the virus.
According to a release, the company delivered its first round of 2,300 reusable face shields on Friday. Distribution of the face shields is being handled by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on immediate needs.
Boeing, across 10 locations nationwide, is set to produce thousands more face shields per week, gradually increasing production output to meet the growing need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the United States.
The company worked with health care providers across the country to understand what equipment was most urgently needed and how that aligned with Boeing’s vast manufacturing capabilities. Face shields and other PPE have been in such short supply that some doctors and nurses have turned to swimming goggles and other homemade options.
In Huntsville, Boeing teammates are using state of the art additive manufacturing machines to 3D-print a frame with an adjustable headband that allows a clear plastic face shield to be snapped onto the frame.
Face shield production and donations are merely one part of a comprehensive Boeing effort to leverage company and employee resources to aid with COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts.
To date, the company has donated tens of thousands of units of PPE – including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits – to support healthcare professionals battling the coronavirus in some of the hardest-hit locations in the nation.
Boeing has also offered use of its unique airlift capabilities, including the Boeing Dreamlifter, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. The company is reportedly coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide airlift support.
“Boeing is proud to stand alongside many other great American companies in the fight against COVID-19, and we are dedicated to supporting our local communities, especially our frontline healthcare professionals, during this unprecedented time,” Boeing president and CEO David Calhoun said in a statement.
“History has proven that Boeing is a company that rises to the toughest challenges with people who are second to none. Today, we continue that tradition, and we stand ready to assist the federal government’s response to this global pandemic,” he concluded.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn