Using personal protective equipment to combat the spread of COVID-19


UTICA, NY (WUTR-TV) — SUNY Polytechnic Institute is using 3D printing technology to help mitigate a national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers by manufacturing parts for face shields, enabled by funding from Oneida County, in addition to receiving PPE provided by the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Marcy that will also be distributed. It’s just one of several ways the institution is assisting to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), in addition to donating bedding to support area medical personnel.

“I am extremely proud of the SUNY Poly faculty, staff, and students who, through their talents and generosity, are utilizing our institutional technology to help protect those who tirelessly work night and day to care for COVID-19 patients,” said SUNY Poly Interim President Dr. Grace Wang. “SUNY Poly will continue to assist our communities, state, and country through continued, proactive measures to help those most in need during this pandemic, potentially saving countless lives.”

Dr. Michael Carpenter, Associate Professor and Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, said with current social distancing health guidelines in place, 3D printing labs at the institution’s Center for Global Advanced Manufacturing (CGAM) in Utica are prototyping the New Paltz design and will be able to produce 50 face shields during normal working hours each day. Using a laser cutter, hundreds of additional face shields can be fabricated per day. 

“The CGAM work is a collective effort between students, staff, and faculty, and it is great to see the SUNY Poly team participating in the larger initiative against COVID-19. Furthermore, as an extension of the SUNY Poly effort, we have also invited the New York State network of FIRST robotics teams to participate in the 3D printing of these designs as they are able from each participant’s location.”

Oneida County has generously provided funding to help with this initiative and will distribute face shields where the need is greatest. The Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Marcy has also contributed PPE for the effort. Of note, The Wal-Mart Distribution Center, with the Compassion Coalition, also recently donated refrigerators and microwaves for those students with a need who remained on campus as a result of special circumstances.

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