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Sudbury businesses, organizations 3D-printing medical components

Headbands will hold in place face shields for health-care workers on COVID-19 front lines
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SHYFTInc in Sudbury is one of 11 organizations and businesses 3D-printing headbands to hold in place face shields for medical professionals. The headbands are being made for use at Health Sciences North. (SHYFTInc photo)

A group of Sudbury organizations has come together to 3D-print much-needed components for personal protective equipment (PPE) for use at the city’s Health Sciences North (HSN).

With a need growing for protective medical equipment to help shield health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, organizations have begun using an open-source file from the Swedish 3D printing company 3D Verkstan to 3D-print headbands that will hold in place face shields worn by medical professionals.

The Sudbury group includes mining-industry companies Ionic Mechatronics, SHYFTInc and Hard-Line, as well as the SNOLAB research facility and Science North science centre.

Schools are also contributing to the effort. Postsecondary institutions like Collège Boréal, Cambrian College, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and Laurentian University are participating, as well as Lo-Ellen Park and Lively Secondary high schools.

SHYFTInc typically offers technology solutions for the mining industry. But it’s now using its 3D printers to take on the headband challenge.

“Together, we can make a difference, and we’re doing it safely using protocols recommended by our local coordinator and our own site safety protocols for dropoff and pickup,” the company said in an April 2 news release.

“We are offering our 3D-printing facilities and experts to help any other partners that require assistance with manufacturing medical supplies in these unprecedented times.”

Hard-Line, which specializes in remote-control technology for the mining industry, has also taken up the cause, running two 3D printers to produce the headbands.

“We are doing whatever we can to help as many health-care professionals as possible,” said France Dubois Hnatiuk, Hard-Line’s vice-president of operations, in a news release.

“We are all in this together, and every unit counts – our way of saying thank you to all the front-line health-care workers and we can’t thank them enough.”

Hard-Line said it can produce 14 visors in an eight-hour shift. It's continuing to print as many as it can and looking to improve process to increase its production.

The first delivery of 300 face shield headbands was made to the hospital last week.




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