Staff from the departments of Architecture and Industrial Design as well as Industrial Engineering, worked together to cut and assemble face shields, which were donated to the local Kalafong Hospital.
While the expertise and equipment available at a university such as TUT are normally geared towards prototyping and testing, rather than mass production, the complex time that we are currently experiencing, necessitate those who can and who are prepared to, to act as a backup in case supplies of PPE are disrupted. Every bit helps and even a small number of face-shields could go a long way in protecting medical staff in a time of crisis.
TUT is currently also investigating ways to increase the capacity to produce more PPE equipment and act as a support to our local hospitals.
The shields TUT produced, are a modified version of a design released by the New York University (https://open-face-ppe.now.sh/). This design was chosen due to it is simplicity and the ease with which it can be produced using the materials and equipment at hand.
Although the original design “is provided with no warranties, prototypes have successfully been used in hospitals settings with positive feedback” (https://open-face-ppe.now.sh/).
Industrial Design lecturer, Kyle Brand, cut the designs using a vinyl cutter available at the Industrial Design studio. According to him, it was not the ideal machine for the job, but it worked for the time being.
Other members of the team from the Department of Industrial Engineering, Isaac Tlhabadira, Sinegugu Tshabalala and Zanele Kankolongo, assisted in acquiring elastic and assembling the shields. Some shields have been used as samples in the investigation to increase capacity to produce more shields, while additional designs are also being investigated.
The first batch of shields were delivered to the Kalafong Hospital in Tshwane the past week. Staff are working hard to ensure TUT can continue to support our local hospitals during this pandemic.
For more information on the project, please contact Kyle Brand on 084 364 6623.