TPE Solutions Inc. is working with a Boys & Girls Club to provide face shields for hospitals and health care providers.
In March, TPE Solutions, a thermoplastic elastomers distributor in Shirley, Mass., asked a robotics club and T-shirt business at the Boys & Girls Club of Leominster and Fitchburg, Mass., to design a face shield. TPE Solutions is a supporter of the club, and owner Jonas Angus is a board member.
"I thought about John F. Kennedy saying we were going to the moon, even if we don't know how we're going to do it," Angus said in a recent phone interview. "Hospitals were struggling and needed these products.
"I left it up to the kids," he added. "They did the coding on their own. I was very impressed."
As many as 10 students worked on the project using a 3D printer located at the TPE Solutions site. Once the design was finalized, a prototype was approved by a local doctor. TPE Solutions then bought two more printers for the students to use.
Students assemble the shields, including attaching headbands, at the TPE Solutions site. The shields are made from glycol-modified PET, which Angus said was selected for its light weight, scratch resistance, clarity and lower cost. TPE Solutions bought the sheet from Primex Plastics of Richmond, Ind., then cut it into pieces measuring 9½ by 12 inches.
To date, more than 600 shields have been made and donated to UMass Memorial Hospital and other area hospitals. The club also is selling the shields to the public.
Angus said that he hopes that the experience gained by the students on the face shield project will help them in the future.
"The goal is to inspire them to go into engineering," he added.