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Innovation

3-D printers join race to produce face shields for healthcare workers

Doctors and nurses caring for COVID-19 patients at Birmingham’s UAB Hospital will soon receive protective face shields thanks to 3-D printing technology and a partnership involving the Alabama Productivity Center at The University of Alabama, Alabama Power and UAB’s School of Engineering.

Alan Hill, executive director of the Culverhouse College of Business’s Alabama Productivity Center (APC), said the effort is moving ahead quickly despite getting started only last Friday.

Already, the Alabama Productivity Center’s two 3-D printers, running non-stop over the weekend, have turned out over 30 plastic headbands for the face shields. At the UAB School of Engineering, Justin Koch is producing headbands on five 3-D printers, and Scott Bishop of Alabama Power’s Technology Applications Center is printing headbands on two printers and laser cutting the plastic shields for some of the headbands produced. Final assembly is expected to take place at UAB.

“This is a really tremendous team effort,” Hill said. “My wife is a nurse at UAB Hospital, and as this is building, we’ve all seen the struggles that healthcare workers are going through right now.

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