WINSTED, CT – April 20, 2020 – In an effort to help alleviate the state’s need for personal protective equipment (PPE), Connecticut’s Community Colleges, including Asnuntuck CC, Housatonic CC, Naugatuck Valley CC, Tunxis CC and Northwestern Connecticut CC, are using their Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers to create face shields for hospitals, nursing homes and other medical operations.
Northwestern Connecticut Community College’s National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Grant Project, Engaging Students from Classroom and Campus to College and Technical Careers, is providing students with the opportunity to apply their technical skills and knowledge, usually gained during an internship and industry interactions, in making face shields for health care workers. The following six students, John Bennett (Engineering Science), William Hobson-Rhoades (Engineering Science), Joshua Guarna (Technology Studies: Engineering Technology Option), Kaylee Lada (General Studies), Paige O’Meara (Bioscience Transfer Pathway: Liberal Arts & Science) and Alex Trotto (Technology Studies: Engineering Technology Option), along with their Math and Engineering Professor, Dr. Douglas Hoffman, and Biology Professor and principal investigator Sharon Gusky, make up the “Print Platoon”.
Using additive manufacturing technology, including 3-D printing at home, the students are using approved designs to manufacture the plastic frames. The 3-D printed items are designed so a piece of polyethylene sheeting can be attached and provide a protective barrier between health care workers and their patients. The 3-D printers are on loan from the College’s new Maker Space and the supplies are being purchased by the Grant.
“I’m so proud of these students for taking time to help out in in these uncertain times,” said Professor Hoffman.
So far, through the dedicated efforts of the “Print Platoon”, the following area health care workers, fire departments and first responders have received face shields: Foothills Visiting Nurses Association (5), Norwalk Hospital (46), Charlotte Hungerford Hospital (134), Hartford Fire Department (50), Bristol Hospital (6), Starling Oncology (15), St. Francis ICU (60) and several local EMS systems operating from New Hartford to Colebrook to Norfolk have received 46 face shields.