As a critical supplier of pre-labeled labware, barcodes and RFID systems to research and diagnostic companies at the forefront of Coronavirus research, Computype is shifting some of its capacity and workforce to help aid the fight against this pandemic in other ways. ”We started asking ourselves very early in the outbreak, what else can we do to help?” said Tom Sylvester, Computype’s Chief Operating Officer.
Teaming up with The Shield Team, led by St. Thomas Academy teacher Mark Westlake, Computype started manufacturing and donating upwards of 80 face shields per week. With school closures in effect, Westlake used his facility at the Mendota Heights, MN school to operate a PPE collection center. Local hospitals stop by to retrieve the face shields donated by individuals and over 40 local businesses.
Computype uses its 3D printers to manufacture the headband portion of these high-demand face shields. The build instructions from The Shield Team call for three-hole punched transparencies for the face shield portion of the design, which are proving increasingly difficult to access. Fortunately, Computype’s competency as a label converter allows them quick access to clear films normally utilized as release liners that make a perfect substitute.
The headbands and clear shields are packaged separately, with 10 replaceable shields per headband. Computype uses label converting equipment to produce the plastic shields, but punching the holes and rounding the corners is all done by hand. “It’s not the most efficient process” says Allen Engel, Director of Production Engineering and leader of the project, “but we have a great team and they are all ready and willing to help.”
“We indirectly support the healthcare industry in our daily business, but to contribute directly to healthcare workers in our own backyard is something we are all proud of,” says Scott Hietpas, Computype CEO. As an innovator in their industry, Computype has several engineers and product development staff who have 3D printers at home, which they are now using to contribute to the cause as well.
“We will continue producing as many face shields as we can,” says Hietpas. “Every one of these face shields is helping protect a healthcare worker, and to be able to support this cause in our own community is what Computype is all about.”