Incodema, A precision cutting and forming sheet metal manufacturer specializing in prototypes, was approached by Ithaca’s Cayuga Medical Center (CMC) in early April 2020 to produce face shields, a type of personal protective equipment (PPE) in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most fast-turnaround PPE is made with non-sanitizable materials like foam or low-quality plastic and can only be worn once. Incodema decided to make face shields that could be sanitized and reused.
Incodema’s master toolmaker, Clint, developed a design using stainless steel for the face shield’s headband and Mylar plastic for the shield’s headband and Mylar plastic for the shield itself—both of which are materials that can be sanitized and reused. The stainless-steel headbands have holes in each end so that users can tighten them with a piece of removable elastic if desired.
The headbands were cut using MC Machinery’s Mitsubishi 3015 LVPlus CO2 laser. The Mitsubishi MV1200-R wire EDM was used to create tooling that could bend parts on the Mitsubishi Diamond BB4013 press brake. However, the face shield design doesn’t require the use of a press brake machine—simple hand tools can also do the job.
Within a week, Incodema was able to produce and evaluate three different revisions, with user input from CMC, before settling on a final design. Incodema presented the face shields to the CMC team right before they headed to New York City to treat coronavirus patients. The company has made the designs and instructions available to everyone on its website.
“The Mitsubishi equipment that we have allows us to do what we do best,”
Incodema President Illa Burbank.