Two startups incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face shields and intubation boxes from 3D Printers and commonly-available stationery materials.
PPEs are being used by doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals working to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The initial batches of these innovations have already been supplied to frontline healthcare workers and are in the process of being scaled-up for mass production for deployment to hospitals and clinics in need across the country at affordable rates.
The 3D-printed Face Shields and Intubation Boxes were developed by Fabheads Automation, an IIT Madras-incubated start-up that specializes in manufacturing parts from plastics and fibre-reinforced plastics.
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Face Shields made using simple stationery items have been developed by Axis Defence Labs, an IIT Madras student start-up founded by Sathvik Batte, who is a second mechanical engineering student.
In association with ‘CY4,’ an automotive start-up based in Chennai, and other start-ups across India, Axis Defence Labs plans to distribute their faces held across the country.
Tamaswati Ghosh, CEO, IIT Madras Incubation Cell said, “Our startups have quickly mobilised and repurposed their offerings in response to the situation and are striving to make a positive contribution to the nation's anti-virus efforts.”
The face shields
Weighing less than 50 gram, the 3D-printed Face Shields developed by Fabheads Automation use a flexible plastic frame to fit individuals without requirement of elastic bands and are perfect to be worn for long hours. It uses a replaceable transparent sheet, which is inexpensive and can be easily taken off.
Dhinesh Kanagaraj, Founder and CEO, Fabheads Automation, said the company is currently manufacturing a few hundred face shields per week using 3D printing technology.
Similarly, the low-cost Face Shield by Axis Defence Labs manufactured using conventional stationery materials, developed, can be procured at less than Rs 30 apiece in large volumes, and the team also has developed the capacity to supply up to 50,000 visors and 5,000 headgear a day.
To keep the costs down, the team used a design through which the visors (movable part of the shield used to cover the face) can be made with regular stationery items. The headgears are made using injection moulding, with materials which can withstand 160 degrees Celsius temperature, for sanitising using heat. The visors are made with 400 gsm skin safe virgin PET sheets, to prevent irritation from long usage.
The seven-day Axis Defence Labs face shields pack, which consists of one headgear and one visor, costs Rs. 210. The 15-day pack at Rs 400, and costs less than Rs 27 rupees per day and the 30 days pack at 750, just 25 rupees per day.
The IIT Madras statement said that Axis Defence Labs is using most of the profits for providing these face shield packs to those with limited resources. For every three packs sold, they are looking to provide at least one pack to those who need them but cannot afford them.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.