January 28, 2021

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COVID-19 technology: Philippine research lab 3D prints PPEs

The Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (AMRel) has been producing personal protective equipment (PPEs) for the last few months to provide support for frontline workers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

AMRel, under the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), has provided 1,220 3D printed face shields, 2,720 ear guards, 30 mask flanges, and 2,000 injection moulded face shields to health workers in Bataan, Pampanga, and Olongapo City.

The face shield production of AMReL is part of a larger initiative called Project BPSU, which is being led by the BPSU Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr Emmanuel C. Macaraeg.

The initiative has projects from the different colleges of the university which include, among others, face masks and alcohol production, a press release explained.

A fund-raising drive among the team members and friends of Project BPSU also provided the much-needed supply of materials for the continuous production of PPEs, the AMRel Project Leader, John Ryan Dizon, said.

Alongside Project BPSU, the university also established several programmes on different campuses and colleges in response to the battle against COVID-19. All projects are led by the BPSU President, Gregorio J. Rodis.

Since its establishment, the laboratory has always been supported by the College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA).

The release mentioned that recently, CEA initiated a fund-raising campaign entitled ‘CEAsing COVID-19’ to acquire more 3D printers and materials to speed up the production of face shields and other PPEs.

The funds raised were able to acquire five new 3D printing machines, which are now being used in the laboratory to increase face shields daily production. A single face shield takes about an hour to be produced.

The production of PPEs was supported by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development, Metals Industry Research and Development Center, BPSU colleges and community, PBR Polypropylene Plant, Bayanihan Bataan, KCI Bataan, volunteers, and other partners.

Further, in the fight against COVID-19, the Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has developed hands-free sanitation devices.

These devices are part of the triage set-up by the PSTC-Ifugao for a handwashing and sanitation station for staff and guests, along with the mandatory documentation before entering the office, a press release has noted.

The designs were conceptualised, and prototypes were made by a DOST beneficiary under the Balik Probinsya programme.

The first design is the 5-in-1 foot-operated facility, intended for hand sanitation using water and liquid soap, drying with either tissue or hot air and alcohol application, the release said.

The facility is placed in front of the ISTC building for clients and personnel to use before entering the building.

The second design is a stand-alone, foot-operated alcohol dispenser placed beside the office door and mostly used by the employees.

These devices ensure that during the sanitation of staff and customers, the devices are not touched, adding a layer of safety for everyone. The soap and alcohol bottles and containers are also easily replaceable, the release concluded.

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