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IIT-M supported startups have developed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as face shields and intubation boxes from 3D Printers as well as commonly available stationery materials for frontline workers fighting COVID-19.

Initial batches have already been supplied to frontline healthcare workers and are being scaled-up for mass production for deployment to hospitals, clinics across country at affordable rates, a statement from the Institute said on Thursday.

Weighing less than 50 gm, the 3D-printed face shields developed by Fabheads Automation uses a flexible plastic frame to fit individuals without requirement of elastic bands and can be worn for long hours. It uses a replaceable transparent sheet, which is inexpensive and wearable.

“We have already supplied a few hundred face shields to various users such as police personnel and hospitals in Chennai and received excellent feedback,” Dhinesh Kanagaraj, Founder and CEO, Fabheads Automation said. “We are currently manufacturing a few hundred face shields per week using our 3D printing technology. In the next stage, we are getting ready to produce 5,000 pieces per day, with a significant decrease in per piece cost.”

The company has also fabricated an Intubation box to reduce the transmission risk to doctors during intubation. The intubation box is a transparent box covering four sides of a patient during the intubation process. The doctor can put his/her hands through two big holes in the box and operate on the patient. This reduces the risk of infection significantly from the splashes/aerosols by up to 95% according to a study by the Boston Medical Center, the release stated.

Face shields made using simple stationery items have been developed by Axis Defence Labs, which has been founded by a second-year Mechanical Engineering student at IIT Madras.

“I found the prices were too high (for face shields), and these were being resold to the end-users at an even higher price. We wanted to solve this by providing the shields in packs to reduce the overall costs of production,” Sathvik Batte, Founder, Axis Defence Labs said.

The face shield can be procured at less than Rs. 30 a piece in large volumes, and the team also has developed the capacity to supply up to 50,000 visors and 5,000 headgear a day. In association with ‘CY4,’ an automotive start-up based in Chennai, and other start-ups across India, the company plans to distribute their face shields across the country.

IIT Madras Incubation Cell Chief Executive Officer, Dr Tamaswati Ghosh said the startups are working on a range of products that are vital to India’s fight against Covid-19, from N95 masks to intubation boxes and ventilators to affordable testing kits.

“They have quickly mobilized and repurposed their offerings in response to the situation and are striving to make a positive contribution to the nation’s anti-virus efforts. IIT-M Incubation Cell continues to assist its startups through these challenging times and hopes that industry support will help them ramp up their efforts in a more meaningful way,” Dr Ghosh said.




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