Baptist Health South Florida is counting on Florida Atlantic University for the quick and cheap production of between 8,000 and 16,000 disposable face shields.
College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean Dr. Stella Bartalama says they're buying polyester plastic in bulk and using laser cutters to form the bendable shields. Then they attach foam on the foreheads and bands to go around the head.
"It is a simple design and very effective," she stresses.
In fact, she says, "The fact that they are disposable actually adds a level of safety because it doesn't need to be cleaned for every use."
The materials for shields, which are to be used over facemasks, only cost about $1.50 each.
Teams of four are expected to begin production this weekend.
Dr. Bartalama says the hope is to produce and deliver between 8,000 and 16,000 shields, with the first 4,000 completed in about a week.
The only issue is the global shortage on supplies, especially for the polyester plastic used for the flexible cover. "It is a race, actually, to get all the materials to produce these face shields, but it is a very important effort for the benefit of our South Florida community, and we are very proud that we can contribute this way."
FIU students and staff are using 3D printers to produce at least 1,000 reusable face shields for Baptist Health which is the region's largest health care organization with 11 hospitals and more than 150 urgent care centers from Palm Beach to Monroe Counties.