The Durban University of Technology (DUT) continues to help in the battle against COVID-19 by manufacturing and donating 3D printed face shields to communities in and around Durban.
Several students and staff from the Department of Information Technology and Mechanical Engineering are involved in the design and manufacture of 3D printed face shields. The team is led by Ebrahim Asmal: Senior Lecturer-Department of IT and Dr Festus Mwangi -HOD-Mechanical Engineering together with other Mechanical Engineering and IT staff and students.
Ebrahim Asmal, who is at the helm of this project, said to date, over 5000 3D face shields have already been donated to many doctors, hospitals, clinics, schools, organisations, old age homes, the South African Police Services, front line staff, eThekwini Health, in and around Durban, on a regular basis.
He said that the 3D printed face shields are produced at the University’s Luban Workshop at the Ritson Campus in Durban. Explaining more on how the 3D shields are made, Asmal said there is a great drive from DUT to produce these 3D protective wear for those who need it the most. “We have prototyped and experimented with a number of different designs and we wanted to produce something with re-usable material, enviro- friendly and cheap to manufacture. The final design meets the criteria. The clips for the shields are 3D printed at the Luban Workshop and it takes about three hours to print 50 clips. The front visor is cheap and re-usable. We are conscious of the impact of the materials we produce on the environment and in the interim have made use of materials that are readily available and not adding to the carbon footprint,” he said.
Asmal further added that Associations such as the Down Syndrome Association KZN have received 50 face shields and have requested for more. “The Fulton School for the Deaf obtained 100 face shields, the Missio Dei Christian School received 50 face shields, Crossmoor Secondary School received 100 face shields, and the Centre for the Advancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CASME) will receive 100 face shields which are ready for delivery,” he said.
Siva Reddy from the Missio Dei Christian School has expressed his gratitude to DUT upon receiving a sponsorship of 50 shields for its learners. Missio Dei Christian School in Verulam provides excellent all round education offering private pre-school, primary school and high school learning for learners of every age. “We wish to place on record our sincere thanks and appreciation for your sponsorship,” he said.
Also excited with their donation is Angie Govindsami (Branch Manager DSA-KZN), who said on behalf of the chairperson and members of the Down Syndrome Association KZN, they wanted to thank DUT for the donation of 50 masks.
“The masks will be a great help in helping curb the spread of the virus and we appreciate the kind contribution, especially at this trying time that we are unfortunately experiencing,” she said.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation & Engagement, Professor Sibusiso Moyo, added that “rightfully so, DUT needs to take the lead on its ability to innovate and co-create and design solutions and products with our engagement partners and communities in order to minimise the impact and spread of the virus. We look forward to partnering with various organisations that have similar interests to collaborate on the co-production of personal protective equipment (PPE) to help fight the pandemic.”
Pictured: Learners from the the Missio Dei Christian School are elated with their 3D face masks from DUT.