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Brewery starts 3D-printing face shields as COVID-19 fight continues

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Brewery 3D prints masks

Phillips Brewing & Malting Co. repurposed its 3D printer and began producing face shields which could potentially save lives as the coronavirus fight continues. The latest example of a local business finding creative ways to help with the ongoing crisis comes from Victoria, British Columbia and has been devised by the aforementioned brewery’s engineer David Gilmour.

3D-printed parts that save lives

Speaking to local media, Mr. Gilmour revealed the setup allows for a consistent supply of parts for making conventional face shields which have been in short supply both domestically and globally. The facewear itself isn’t assembled on site as the brewery lacks the hardware necessary for producing clear visors. It hence sends the 3D-printed components to a partnering facility wherein they’re assembled into the final products.

Phillips Brewing & Malting originally purchased its sole 3D printer in order to improve its prototyping processes. Gilmour instigated the idea to repurpose the machine while thinking of how the company could help the community struggling to slow down the spread of the new coronavirus strain. As the outlet has only a single 3D printer at its disposal, its output is currently limited to components sufficient for making four shields per day, minus the visors.

The contribution is still lauded as significant because face shields are much more suitable for reusing than conventional masks. As for the visors themselves, those require laser cutting equipment. Phillips Brewing & Malting previously repurposed much of its production line in order to start manufacturing hand sanitizers for healthcare professionals and other workers deemed essential in the current crisis. Many other local distilleries and breweries have been doing the same for weeks now as part of a national solidarity wave which could potentially save countless lives.

This creative relief initiative hardly could have been more timely given how face visors and other forms of protective gear have been largely sold out in Canada since early March. It also serves as an important reminder of how impactful 3D printing technologies can be due to their sheer versatility. Perhaps other Canadian businesses with access to such solutions will follow suit in the days ahead, especially as it appears the worst is yet to come in regards to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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