The Innovation Center at Boeing’s Renton, Washington plant 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 by making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Avery and fellow additive manufacturing subject matter expert, Joshua Dunn, have been hard at work to 3D-print face shield frames before shipping them to our St. Louis site, where they’re assembled and donated to FEMA for distribution to hospital workers. They’re one of multiple Boeing 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.”
Over the past week Avery and Dunn have printed 800 face shield frames and counting.
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. “We have seven weeks before we find out if we continue, pivot or wrap it up. And we’ll keep going until they cut us off.”
On April 10, 2020, Boeing made its initial delivery of face shields to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for distribution to health care professionals in need of personal protective equipment, and is planning to deliver more by the end of this week.
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.