Penn State Health needed more face shields for its employees amidst the coronavirus pandemic, and now the company that created them, is sending them across the country.
Two eight hour shifts of eight people each day, the employees at Universal Protective Packaging (UPPI) in Mechanicsburg are cranking out the face shields as demand skyrockets. They’re making about 40,000 of them a week, and each one takes less than 30 seconds to make.
“We prototyped it pretty much overnight and they approved it, and we started manufacturing last week,” said Tim Ritter, Vice President at UPPI.
Penn State Health reached out to the company, and collaborated with them on the model. In a matter of days, UPPI made and shipped its first thousand shields to Penn State. They’re designed to be placed over face masks.
“It’s there just to protect the face from physical particulate contamination,” said Dr. Peter Dillon, Executive Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Penn State Health.
The shields are made in an ISO class 8 clean room, which means the air is much cleaner than normal air. Only three materials are needed.
“It’s a simple, simple product, just a shield cut out of plastic, elastic that we could source, foam that we could source,” said Jim Breakey, chief engineer at UPPI.
“The health care workers are on the front lines, fighting this crisis. They really deserve the thanks. We’re just trying to help the best we can, using the resources that we have,” said Ritter.
UPPI has received 400,000 orders so far, and the requests keep coming in.
“Several other hospitals on the east coast, Baltimore. We’ve got inquiries from Texas and New Jersey,” said Ritter.
According to UPPI, it hopes to add a third shift of people making these face shields.