SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3 TV / CBS 5) Three-dimensional printers are running across the Valley to produce face shields for medical workers at Banner Health.
"We never thought that we were going to be doing this," said Dr. Kirk Strawn with Walter Productions, an event production company in Scottsdale. "This is not what we do normally."
But Thursday, Strawn was inspecting 3D printed parts of face shields at the Scottsdale art center and gathering space he calls the Walter Hive. "We very quickly have ramped up and created a logistics process," Strawn said.
People and institutions who own 3D printers, like dentists, cookie cutter manufacturers and the Arizona Science Center are now cranking out pieces for the face shields.
"It can take anywhere from a few hours to less than an hour depending on the equipment," Strawn said. The finished headpieces are brought to the studio space to get fitted and tested.
Strawn also is able to use a machine to cut out face-sized sheets of clear plastic for the protective portion of the headgear. It all then goes to a different location for final assembly and sanitizing before they're given to medical workers at Banner Health.
Strawn says this week they're on track to produce between 500 and 700 face shields, but next week he says they're going to be able to ramp up production to a thousand face shields.
"We are in absolute unprecedented times right now," said Christy Anderson, Executive Director of Innovation for Banner Health. "Not just Banner Health but every health care system across the country."
With personal protective equipment supplies dwindling nationwide, Banner Health is trying to prepare as the number of coronavirus patients in Arizona rises. "These are preventative measures should we get to a low or no supply situation," Anderson said.