HAZELTON, W.Va. – GMS Mine Repair and Maintenance, Inc. has announced that it will start mass-producing face shields to provide to workers on the frontlines, fighting COVID-19.
Personal protective equipment is in high demand currently in the fight against the novel coronavirus, and many hospitals and others in the healthcare industry are in desperate need. Josh Helbig, the operating officer of GMS, said one of their engineers, Ben Larrick, came up with a new way to make the masks that will make the process a lot more efficient.
“He came to us kind of looking for a way that we could help some of these frontline employees that are out there fighting this COVID in the medical industry,” Helbig said. “We reached out to a couple of people and started with a 3D printing process, which was really slow, and then he was able to take ownership and design and mass-produce these masks, and we’ll be going into production with them next week with them. I think it’ll—hopefully we’re able to do our little part to help the people that are on the frontlines.”
The company used to be able to make one mask an hour, for a total of eight a day, but now it will be able to make roughly 400 a day using a water jet process.
It currently has 380 units requested by the WV National Guard. Helbig said the company will keep making them as they are requested; for now, there’s no cap on the number it will produce.
Helbig said the only thing standing in the way right now are materials to make the face shields, which will arrive next week, allowing production to get underway. He also added in an email that they are making the N95 masks on the 3D printing operations.