Plastic Face Shields: Ingenious Methods and Designs

  • Face shield doctor Adobe Stock Kalim

    When the going gets tough, the tough get going, which captures the spirit of the plastics industry in proactively responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Some companies have mobilized within their competency strengths while others contribute in new ways, a number of which PlasticsToday has reported.

    In this slideshow we look at the ingenuity within a specialized segment of the personal protective equipment (PPE) market, face shields, through these six one-of-a-kind examples.

    Image: Kalim/Adobe Stock

  • Diamond Packaging’s hybrid paper and plastic shield

    There are plastic face shields and then there’s Diamond Packaging’s hybrid paperboard and plastic protective face shields. The dual-purpose design minimizes the spread of — and reduces exposure to — COVID-19 by providing added protection by covering the eyes, nose, and mouth.

    "I believe this collaboration between healthcare and manufacturing is truly life-changing," said Karla Fichter, CEO and owner of the Rochester, NY, company. "Our face shield designs have evolved to help address the shortage of plastic material in the marketplace and the ever-growing demand for face shield protection. Diamond continually strives to think outside of the box to create innovative solutions. In that spirit we continue to refine our approach to aid in the fight against the COVID-19 threat. We are honored to be a part of the solution for the healthcare system during this time of unprecedented crisis."

    Dennis Bacchetta, the company's director of marketing, informed PlasticsToday that the face shields were converted using 18-point SBS paperboard supplied by Clearwater Paper and a clear 0.003-inch PET window supplied by Transcendia.

    In May the company donated 100,000 of the face shields to Northwell Health, New York's largest health care provider and private employer, with 72,000 employees across the state.

  • ZVerse’s next-gen shield hangs “up” from the neck.

    After producing millions of shields for the healthcare industry, ZVerse, a small digital manufacturing company  based in Columbia, SC, turned its attention to designing a new generation of protective face shields for other markets: Workers in service industries, including restaurants, retailers, salons, grocery stores, food plants, and the elective medical sector. The futuristic ZShield Flex serves as a deterrent to COVID-19 and a more functional alternative to cloth face masks.

    The company points out that, functionally, face masks are harder to breathe through (problematic for people with asthma) and to communicate verbally/nonverbally and are problematic for the hard of hearing community who rely on lipreading.

    Not so with their space-age, patent-pending design made with anti-fog materials. The benefits include:

    It’s worn like a necklace, the neck mount is more comfortable than head or face-mounted PPE, which can cause skin irritation and conflict with hairstyles and facial hair.

    It’s easier to adjust without touching the face, which is one of the top ways COVID-19 is spread, and it quickly ratchets into different positions.

    The visor easily disassembles from the adjustable neck mount, permitting easy cleaning and reuse.

    And there’s a marketing aspect: The front of the “Y” bracket can sport a company logo or other messaging.

  • Recycle Bottle Face Shield

    The soda bottle face shield.

    Then there are the grassroots, do-it-yourself options that use common household items, like this one that recycles soda bottles.

    The 5-step process requires just seven items including materials and tools: large soda bottle, utility knife, scissors, foam, strap, tape, and stapler.

    The how-to video is on YouTube:

  • 3DPrintUK face shields combo

    Meet the most efficient SLS 3D-printed face shield design.

    Efficiency in the time of pandemic can be a life-saving proposition.

    After partnering with Arts University Bournemouth, 3DPRINTUK, London, England, developed “the most efficient SLS 3D printed face shield design” and released it for free for everyone to use.

    The design is optimized for FDM printers.

    For example, what the team at 3DPrintuk noticed after seeing the amazingly well-designed and ground-breaking Prusa face shield design was that only 14 individual head bands could be printed on the EOS FORMIGA P110 SLS machine at a time. The team focused on a design that the P110 could accommodate in much larger numbers—by nesting the main peak component inside one another they were able to create one that allowed for 260 to be printed in a single print with a 27-hour build time.

    “That is 6 minutes per shield, which is a game changer,” says Nick Allen, the company’s managing director. “The design that we created clips together in 10 seconds, uses silicone straps for adjustment, can take an acetate sheet with 3 holes, is lightweight at only 42 g, and is sterilizable with IPA, autoclave, or ethylene oxide (Et0). All in all, we believe that this is the most efficient visor design to produce via 3D printing available today.”

    Additional design benefits include a closed peak design for extra protection, the material used (PA2200/Nylon 12) is biologically safe, and the shape has been designed so that it can be flat packed into an A4 envelope for cheap postage and storage.

  • RealShield face shield for restaurant employees

    RealShield addresses restaurant staff safety requirements.

    “RealShield” from Racing Optics Inc., Las Vegas, is an affordable, yet premium face-covering solution for restaurants across Los Angeles County as they scramble to become compliant with new health guidelines released by the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health.

    The protocol for restaurants opening for on-site dining outlines the need for face shields to be worn by the waitstaff and other employees when servicing customers in the county. RealShield’s groundbreaking technology perfectly addresses these protocols with a durable, shatterproof design.

    The RealShield is claimed to be easy to clean and offers UV protection. Notably, it is designed to fit on most hats and visors commonly used by waitstaff.

    Because of the innovative modern design and high-end Lexan brand polycarbonate, which is manufactured by Sabic Innovative Plastic, it's designed to be comfortable enough for staff members to wear for hours.

    "Protecting people and surfaces is in the DNA of the company. Our teams designed RealShield from scratch using the latest findings from experts and scientists," says Christophe Fremont, Chairman of the Board of Racing Optics. "When the pandemic started, we felt a responsibility to use our 20 years of expertise with face coverings in Racing Optics to design a product that offered better protection than a face mask, and RealShield was born."

    There are more than 72,000 restaurants and 1 million people currently employed at restaurants in LA.

  • X2 Romania face shield

    Clamshell packaging inspires economical thermoformed 2-piece visor.

    The X2 face shield is from thermoformer manufacturer GravoLAB based in Campulung, Romania.

    While it’s similar to more complex face shields, the lightweight patent-pending design offers key benefits.

    The belt has two hinges that allows it to fold and fit inside a small bag — and it’s thinner than a smartphone.

    “It’s a different approach to what’s on the market,” General Manager Dan Dragulinescu tells PlasticsToday. “They are completely made on with thermoforming machine, eliminating the need for 3D printed or injection molded parts, which are expensive and cannot be manufactured in high volumes at a reasonable cost like ours.”

    How reasonable? “Our target is to keep the price below 1 Euro per set,” says Dragulinescu. “I’ve seen recent online pricing of face shields at 5 to 15 Euros.”

    He explains that the shields are made with two thermoformed parts, a flexible support belt, which can be easily adjusted for a range of head sizes, and transparent visor film made of PET.

    “These two parts are joined together with a ‘click’ that’s been inspired by single-use clamshell packaging,” he points out. “The beauty of the design is that the visor can be adjusted while keeping the support on the head. It easily accommodates users with glasses or a face mask; the ventilation space between face and film makes this shield comfortable for long use as does the lightweight, 35-gram design.”

    It can be used “anywhere, from hospitals to manufacturing companies to offices or worn simply on the street in crowded places,” he says.

    Also, Dragulinescu feels that the design is as aesthetic as it is functional, calling its looks more “fashionable than medical. A German customer said ‘it brings back the smile on the face.”’

    That’s something we can all use these days.

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