DOST to produce 5,000 face shields a day for COVID-19 frontliners

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2020 04:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 07 2020 04:24 PM

MANILA — The Department of Science and Technology and partner organizations will start producing 5,000 face shields a day for Filipino health workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic amid high demand, the agency said Tuesday.

Face shields are among essential personal protective equipment used by health workers to shield themselves while tending to COVID-19 patients. 

“Initially, we produced 3D printed face shields as our stop-gap measure. But we wanted to help meet the high demand for face shields, that is why we geared up for mass production,” said DOST Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC) Executive Director Robert Dizon.

Dizon said they fabricated a mold and used a technology called plastic injection.

“The frame and the acetate together make up the face shield, these are secured with a garter. We have technology partners who joined us in this cause, and so now we are able to ramp up our production to around 5,000 face shields per day,” he said.

Of that number, 2,500 face shields a day will be fabricated by Omnifab and the Megasamsotite Plant in San Pedro, Laguna. The other 2,500 will be made by the DOST-MIRDC.

The face shields will be distributed to different hospitals in the country.

Before deciding to mass produce the face shields, the DOST-MIRDC was using 3D printing to make 40 to 50 face shields a day with the help of the Additive Manufacturing Center’s five 3D printers.

The DOST’s Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI) also recently donated 100 3D-printed face shields to the Philippine Heart Center.

Other institutions have also utilized 3D printing to make face shields, such as the Bataan Peninsula State University’s Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (BPSU-AMREL), which created a process to combine 3D printing and injection molding to create face shields. The project was funded by the DOST's Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD).

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Rowena Cristina Guevara said the agency continues to look for innovations that will help shorten production time for face shields.

“As we make change happen through research and development, we find ways in helping out our new heroes facing COVID-19. We shall continue to look for better means to support our frontliners through research and development,” she said.