San Francisco In-plant Helps Produce Face Shields
The in-plant at the University of California, San Francisco, is contributing to the production of face shields to help protect nurses and physicians from the coronavirus.
UCSF Documents and Media (DM) is using its Challenge EH-3A drill press to turn clear plastic sheets normally used to cover bound reports into face shields for front-line health care workers. The shields incorporate a 3D-printed headband, produced in the university’s Makers Lab. The goal is to produce about 300 face shields per day.
The clear plastic report covers are perforated using a three-hole punch. Those holes line up with three small pegs on the headband, suspending the plastic sheet in place.
“This protects a worker’s face from splashes and droplets,” says Ramana Sastry, director of clinical engineering at UCSF Health, in a UCSF news story. “This design is key, not only because it’s inexpensive and quick, but also because we’re talking about extended use and reuse.”
The total cost of the materials is reportedly less than $1 per shield, and each shield takes about an hour and 20 minutes to manufacture. Comparable face shields cost about $20 each, said Sastry. UCSF is sharing its printing protocols and continual refinements online, to help other printers produce also face shields.
While the in-plant’s service centers are currently closed, a small group of essential workers are rotating in at the main print facility to produce essential printing jobs for the university and its hospital, UCSF Health. Those jobs include COVID-19-related signage, guidelines for patients, and university jobs like payroll reports. They are being printed on the in-plant's Xerox Iridesse digital color press.
For the face shields, boxes of clear sheets are transported from the library to DM’s main office, about 15 minutes away. They come in boxes of 100 sheets.
“The packs weren’t opened, to limit exposure,” says Mario Carmona, business operations manager at DM.
Individual paper drill bits and all work surfaces are sanitized and wiped down with disinfectant wipes.
“We regularly manage high-capacity punching and have the needed equipment at our main plant at the MCB,” says Carmona. “We have our multiple-spindle paper drill presses for high-capacity punching within our bindery and finishing area.”
After ensuring the drill bits are sharpened, Lisa Gee, digital production manager, then drills all 100 sheets at once, letting the drill cool between packs to prevent the hot drill bits from fusing the plastic.
“The packs were re-boxed and the library picked up the drilled transparency stock and delivered them to the Makers Lab on the same day where they were put into production to attach to the headband,” explains Carmona.
Participating in such a critical project, he says, gives his staff a sense of pride. Living in an earthquake-prone part of the country, he says, has prepared the in-plant to always to ready to step in when disaster happens to support the university and hospital.
"So we were already in the mindset of whatever UCSF Health needs, we'll be there to produce it," he says.