Community Business Steps Up in Time of Need

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GE Additive, a local business, set out to solve the problem of dwindling stocks of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in our community.

Employees at GE Additive felt compelled to help local front-line workers during the COVID-19 crisis and saw a need in their communities for PPE and began reaching out to friends, family, and personal connections to learn more about their needs. The initiative began by supporting personal contacts’ needs and grew into a collaboration with TriHealth.

The goal was to use 3D printing technology to design a product that met the needs of healthcare workers that used easily sourced materials, so the project could be scalable. The solution developed with TriHealth is a 3D printed plastic adapter – roughly the size of an index finger and shaped like a tiny boomerang. One end of the adapter fits snugly into the lateral tab of a standard hard hat, while a nylon twist bolt at the other end holds the visor steady to create a face shield. These shields protect face masks and will allow for longer use if masks are scarce.

The adapter was tested, validated by GE Additive and TriHealth, and 400 face shields were assembled and deployed in the course of 2 days.

“You can connect the helmet and shield in less than a minute. The adapter not only binds together the shield and the hard hat, but it also allows the wearer to easily raise and lower the visor as required,” said Josh Mook, GE Additive.

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing enables the creation of lighter, stronger parts and systems. The process focuses on growing parts layer by layer, rather than cutting away pieces.  

This is an example of a local company, stepping up to find a solution. Our community is stronger because of business support like this. HCDC in partnership with Hamilton County Public Administration and REDI Cincinnati were happy to connect GE Additive with the greater supply chain throughout the state for this initiative.

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