Terex Utilities is now using its 3D printing capabilities to print parts for face shields to help protect health care workers from COVID-19.
The company began printing face shield parts following a request for assistance from the Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) in South Dakota.
The Electronic Systems Technology and Robotics departments at the technical college are leading the effort.
“As it takes up to 13 hours to print four face shield bands, they sent a request out to local businesses to lend a hand by printing parts needed for a completed shield,” said Dan Brenden, director of engineering for Terex Utilities.
The company initially started printing mask parts, but switched to printing the bands needed for the face shields, as there was higher demand for masks to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus.
With its in-house 3D printer, Terex Utilities can produce eight bands every 20 hours, and is running the printer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Terex Utilities usually uses its 3D printer for rapid prototyping of small parts for digger derrick or aerial device product design.
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With students sent home to work remotely, the technical institute’s 30 3D printers were sitting idle, which gave Brooks Jacobsen, department supervisor for Electronics Systems Technology and Robotics at LATI, the idea.
Terex now joins two other manufacturers and several individuals in the manufacturing effort. So far, about 800 face shields and 100 masks have been distributed to health care providers in South Dakota and Minnesota.
“We have had tremendous community support for the effort. In addition to those using their 3D printers, we have also had material donated,” Jacobsen said. “It’s been a good thing.”
Terex Utilities has a long relationship with LATI, which also has programs for Diesel Technology, Precision Machining, Welding and Energy and Heavy Equipment Operations.
Several Terex team members participate on advisory boards at the school, and the company supports the Build South Dakota Scholarship program.
Through this program, Terex Utilities provides internships for students, followed by employment opportunities. In addition, Terex Utilities holds its annual service training school on the institute’s campus.
“During times of crisis, it is especially important to support the needs of our local communities, as well as those of our customers. We are glad we could contribute a small part to the effort to produce the face shield bands needed by health care professionals near and far,” said Joe Caywood, director of marketing at Terex Utilities.