From Manufacturing Printheads to Assembling Face Shields
(Lebanon, NH, April 10, 2020) FUJIFILM Dimatix Inc. has endeavored to manufacture 20,000 face shields for Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and other hospitals near their sister facility, which is located in Santa Clara, CA. They will be used by healthcare workers who are interacting with patients who display symptoms of COVID-19. Face shields are part of the personal protective equipment that is urgently needed by hospitals. The current global demand for these supplies is unprecedented and has made healthcare professionals explore all options for acquiring them. DHMC is projecting that it will require at least tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of face shields at their facilities alone.
Many concerned civilians are aware of this lack of healthcare supplies and have spent time considering how they can help. Rick Correia, Director of Supply Chain at Dimatix, and team members became inspired when they saw a story on the nightly news about how MakeIt Labs, a nonprofit “makerspace” in Nashua, NH, had shared a design for these face shields. They then immediately began emailing about the open-source design and to express that Dimatix could harness their manufacturing capabilities to make these face shields at their facilities. This is a low-tech innovation compared to what Dimatix normally manufactures, but it’s critically important work in today’s world.
To begin, Jay Young, Senior Director of Engineering at Dimatix, organized a three-station assembly cell. Then, Dimatix employees volunteered to produce face shields across two four-hour shifts with a target of producing 1,200 each day. At the stations, volunteers peel adhesive tape off the back of a foam pad, press it to a clear plastic shield, staple an elastic headband to two ends of the plastic, and place the completed item in a plastic bag. It takes less than 60 seconds to assemble one face shield.
Dimatix acquired the plastic sheathing from FUJIFILM’s parent company in Japan. Correia’s team ordered rolls of the material and then sent it over to New England Die Cutting, located in Methuen, MA, where it was unfurled, cut into face-size shields, and covered in an anti-fogging substrate. New England Die Cutting also sourced the foam pads and elastic bands, then shipped all three parts separately back to Dimatix for assembly. Since production began, Dimatix has had to change the design to incorporate velcro as elastic has become scarce due to the volume being used around the globe for similar efforts.
The completed item resembles a welder’s mask, covering all of the face, because the virus can be transmitted through the eyes, nose, and mouth. These protective face shields act as a barrier against droplets from coughs and sneezes, therefore, preventing the spread of the virus. Dimatix’s first batch of functional face shields were assembled on March 26.
With facilities in Santa Clara, CA, and Lebanon, NH, FUJIFILM Dimatix Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of FUJIFILM Corporation, is the world’s premier provider of piezoelectric, drop-on-demand industrial inkjet printheads.
If you would like more information on face shield production at FUJIFILM Dimatix, Inc., please contact Rick Correia at (603) 443-5308.