Local employees take to the printers for face shield production

Meet two of the additive manufacturing employees helping to 3D-print face shield frames in Renton, Washington

April 28, 2020 in Community

Boeing employee Joshua Dunn stands with a batch of face shield frames that he made using a 3D printer at the Innovation Center in Renton, Wash. The frames will next be shipped to St. Louis for final assembly and distribution. (Boeing photo)

Photo courtesy: Boeing photo

The Innovation Center in Boeing’s Renton, Wash. facility usually supports the site with tooling, prototypes, “everything and anything,” as additive manufacturing focal Jeremiah Avery said.

These days, however, it’s supporting medical workers around the United States, as they care for patients infected with COVID-19.

Avery and his fellow additive manufacturing subject matter expert, Joshua Dunn, have been hard at work to 3D-print face shield frames before shipping them to Boeing’s St. Louis site, where they’re assembled and donated to FEMA for distribution to hospital workers.  They’re one of multiple teams across the United States helping the effort.

When Avery heard Boeing was going to 3D-print PPE, he used LinkedIn to connect with Greg Hyslop and offer his services.

“I said, ‘Make sure my name’s in there when you need us and we can fire the machines up,’” Avery said. “We got the go-ahead on a Friday night, and we were there Saturday morning.”

In the first week Avery and Dunn printed 800 face shield frames and the work continues.

Dunn said it’s rewarding knowing they’re helping medical professionals on the front lines.

“It’s pretty cool when you see it on the news and in articles: We’re helping the best we can,” Avery said.

On April 10, 2020, Boeing made its initial delivery of face shields to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for distribution to health care professionals in need of personal protective equipment. Since then, thousands of Boeing-made face shields have been distributed to several states, with more on the way.

The FDA authorized the face shields for PPE use by healthcare providers during the national emergency, but has not cleared or approved them under its standard regulatory processes.

Byline: Kate Everson