Lasers aid in fighting COVID-19 with PPE face shields

Here, we present another example of industrial lasers aiding in coping with the spread of COVID-19 by using the laser to cut a unique design in thin acrylic sheet.

A Trotec laser cutter at work cutting PPE face shields made from a single sheet of PET plastic.
A Trotec laser cutter at work cutting PPE face shields made from a single sheet of PET plastic.
Credit: Trotec Laser Canada; taken from https://youtu.be/Fnoc-yZT3Lc.

Editor’s Note: Here, we present another example of industrial lasers aiding in coping with the spread of COVID-19 by using the laser to cut a unique design in thin acrylic sheet.David Belforte, Editor in Chief, Industrial Laser Solutions

Trotec Laser Canada (Mississauga, ON, Canada) has developed a design for personal protective equipment (PPE) face shields made from a single sheet of PET plastic material. Unlike existing 3D-printed face shields that can take hours to make and require both a laser cutter and 3D printer, these laser-cut masks can be made with just a laser machine in under 2 minutes and ready to wear with minor assembly. Seconds vs. hours is exponential when talking about mass-producing thousands of units.  

The design was developed from an earlier model found on ThingiVerse.com that did not have straps made from the same materials, but relied on rubber strings and ropes to tie to the back of the head. Given the current limited availability of ropes and straps, a face shield made from one single sheet of material is the perfect solution to this problem.  

"The strap is adjustable and we have placed holes on the sides if you want to use string or thin rope to tie it at the back. I personally find this mask to be lighter and easier to wear than the other design we have made using acrylic," said Lev Uzlaner, marketing director at Trotec Laser Canada. 

Currently, Trotec Laser Canada is trying to partner with governments and essential businesses to mass-produce these face shields with in-house laser service in its four locations across Canada: Vancouver, BC; Calgary, AB; Toronto, ON; and Montreal, QC. The company also provides raw material distribution since Trotec owns Innovative Laminations Company (New Bern, NC), a plastics manufacturer, making supply of PET and acrylics readily available en masse.  

These face shields are not approved by any medical authority at this time, but Trotec is working to change that. 

For more information on getting these face shields built at Trotec's facilities or to order sheets of PET material, please email lev.uzlaner@troteclaser.com.

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