Batangas university lab makes face shields for health workers
BATANGAS, Philippines — A school-based laboratory in Batangas City is now creating face shields for healthcare workers in the province amid the shortage of personal protective equipment for frontliners responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Louie Villaverde, manager of the LIKHA FabLab of Batangas State University, said they are now manufacturing 3D printed face shield frames in cooperation with the Department of Trade and Industry.
“We had a meeting with other FabLab networks and saw the shortage of PPE in frontliners, so a simple solution that we can do with the lab is to provide them with face shields. It is a basic requirement for frontliners as an additional barrier to reduce the risk of viral transmission,” Villaverde said in mixed English and Filipino.
LIKHA or Labspace for Innovation Knowledge-Honing and Application is a fabrication laboratory (FabLab) that serves as an innovation center for the school.
It was established in 2018 through a grant from DTI of P12 million worth of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to accommodate university students and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
"It is equipped and ready for digital designs, 3D printing, laser engraving/cutting, CNC wood router, vacuum formatting, large format printing and CNC metal milling," Villaverde explained.
Batanhas University president, Tirso Ronquillo and vice president for research, engineer Albertson Amante, are helping the group to produce the face shields.
Villaverde said they sent samples to local health workers and received a very good response prompting them to produce more.
Each 3D printing machine produces an average of six face shields per day. It takes one hour and 46 minutes to produce one. With eight machines in the school, they are able to produce 48 face shields per day.
“Our problem as of the moment is shortage of supply. What we use now is whatever is available in the university but it has limits,” Villaverde said in mixed English and Filipino.
Among the materials they need are acetate films, 3D printer filament and garters. Interested donors are requested to give materials by contacting suppliers directly rather than giving cash.
Donations may be dropped off at the BSU campus in Batangas City.