A Victoria post-secondary institution is supporting its community through the design and distribution of personal protective care shields.
Camosun College responded to Island Health’s request for specialised personal protective equipment in April by engaging the team at Camosun Innovates. They designed and manufactured over 9,000 medical-grade shields for local health care professionals.
The Camosun Innovates team, led by Dr. Richard Gale, with support from Applied Research Technologist Matthew Zeleny, then made their design files freely available online and began manufacturing face shields on demand for the local community.
“We’re hearing very positive feedback because we’re able to quickly fulfill a local need,” says Dr. Gale. “The Personal Protection Equipment available online for small-quantity purchasers can be quite expensive and take a long time to arrive, if you can find it at all right now. What we produce is safe, tested, reusable, and available to our community partners.”
The face shields are being deployed to staff doing vital work in the age of physical distancing, and clients who might not otherwise be able to use the organizations’ services. Local orders have gone to the North Saanich/Sidney RCMP, local dental offices, care facilities for the elderly and the developmentally disabled, Beacon Community Services, Community Living Victoria, and the United Way.
Applied Technologist Matthew Zeleny designed the face shields as Canada began to prepare for the global pandemic. Zeleny reviewed the available open-source designs and realized that a 3D-printed solution would not be able to meet the growing demand. He consulted with Island Health and partner manufacturer AP Plastics, then designed a new laser-cut three-piece flat-pack version that Camosun Innovates, Camosun College’s Interurban campus applied research facility, could produce at a rate of 90 per hour in their Babcock Canada Interaction Lab.
Since making the design files available online in April, enquiries have come from manufacturers across Canada and around the world.
Camosun’s face shields are already in use by doctors and nurses in the Greater Victoria region, and a commercial facility in Campbell River is using the design to supply Island Health’s up-island needs.