Braamfontein – Some Wits University engineers have created face shields for health practitioners dealing with Covid-19 patients.
The team is made of Guy Richards, Letlotlo Phohole, Moses Mogotlane, Palesa Riba and Randall Paton.
Phohole says Netcare will provide the actual shield and clips to put it together.
“We were not happy with the limitation, and wanted to use what is available, cheap to make and light-weight. We wanted to produce a complete product, and also anticipated long printing times with a 3D printer and possible filament shortages given the national drive for face shields and masks.We hope to make between 300 and 500 masks a day,” Phohole said.
Paton said they have developed a system that lets them feed the rolled plastic directly into the cutting bed, and draw more through when done.
“We ensure that after production the shields are washed and dried to remove any potentially harmful residue from the laser cutting. This is done in a production line fashion and is now the tightest bottleneck in the project, as we have only one working laser cutter,” Paton said.
Paton added that they have given 120 masks to the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre, and 20 to the Wits Protection Services staff. “Two hundred will be sent to Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital and 100 to Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.” The institution’s Faculty of Engineering also hopes to make respirators and other medical equipment to fight the Covid-19 pandemic; having raised over R100 000 for the initiative from 68 donors