Laser cutting company answers the call to battle COVID-19

Precision laser cutting manufacturer Incodema decided to make face shields that could be sanitized and reused.

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Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Incodema (Ithaca, NY), a precision laser cutting and forming sheet metal manufacturer specializing in prototypes, was approached by Ithaca’s Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) in early April 2020 to produce face shields. Most fast-turnaround personal protective equipment (PPE) uses nonsanitizable materials like foam or low-quality plastic and can only be worn once. Incodema decided to make face shields that could be sanitized and reused.

They developed a design using stainless steel for the face shield’s headband and Mylar plastic for the shield itself—both of which are materials that can be sanitized and reused. The stainless-steel headbands have holes in each end so that users can tighten them with a piece of removable elastic if desired. 

The headbands were cut using a Mitsubishi 3015 LVPlus CO2 laser. The company also owns a 4 kW Mitsubishi 3015LVPS-40CF fiber laser-powered cutter. A Mitsubishi wire electrical discharge machine (EDM) was used to create tooling that could bend parts on the Mitsubishi press brake. However, the face shield design doesn’t require use of a press brake machine—simple hand tools can also do the job. 

Within a week, Incodema was able to produce and evaluate three different revisions, with user input from CMC, before settling on a final design. They presented the face shields to the CMC team right before they headed to New York City to treat Coronavirus patients. The company has made the designs and instructions available to everyone on its website. 

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