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Company supports group using 3D printers to make face shields


ACKNOWLEDGING the efforts of young engineers and entrepreneurs using 3D printing techniques to shore up the country’s supply of personal protective equipment amid the COVID-19 crisis, office printing company PrintWare Online Jamaica Ltd yesterday donated two 3D printers to Citizens Response Jamaica (CRJ).

While there is a global shortage of hospital-grade masks and other equipment, CRJ aims to fill the gap locally by using 3D printing techniques to aid in the production of essential equipment for doctors and nurses on the front line.

PrintWare’s founder and chairman, Richard Walker, said his organisation prides itself on being innovative and on the cutting edge of technology.

“It, therefore, warmed our hearts to see the young innovators at CRJ being able to creatively apply 3D printing technology in such a powerful and relevant way,” Walker told the Jamaica Observer. He said it is an “absolute honour” to support CRJ in its quest “to help our nation be more self-reliant despite the global supply chain issues being experienced when procuring personal protective equipment required in the fight against COVID-19”.

Yekini Wallen-Bryan, CEO and founder of Pree Labs, which is a part of CRJ — a coalition of young engineers and entrepreneurs — expressed gratitude for the 3D printers as the team continues to produce masks, face shields and other apparatus for use in the fight against COVID-19.

“What we have been doing in the past month and a half is try[ing] to figure out ways we can alleviate [issues], and, in the last month, we have produced over 1,000 face shields, delivered over 300 to the public welfare system, 200 to the Ministry of Health, and we are to deliver [the remainder] this week,” revealed Wallen-Bryan.

He said the donation from PrintWare will allow them to increase their capacity to donate and help protect doctors and other health-care workers on the front line.

“The 3D printers will allow us to print the face shields that we will deliver to the hospitals in the fight against COVID-19,” the CEO said.

He said the 3D printing techniques require minimal human labour and produce large quantities of equipment in a short turnaround time.

There have been more than four million COVID-19 cases worldwide and approximately 286,000 deaths. Jamaica, up to yesterday morning, recorded 505 confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine deaths.

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