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Home / Company / Company Profile / News / 2020 News / AFL Engineering Team Designs 3D-printed Face Shields for Frontline Workers

AFL Engineering Team Designs 3D-printed Face Shields for Frontline Workers

4/16/2020

Spartanburg, SC – AFL, an international manufacturer of fiber optic cable, accessories and equipment, is supporting COVID-19 efforts by creating face shields for the medical industry. Using 3D printing technology, more than 100 face shields have been sent to local hospitals, including Spartanburg Medical Center, Pelham Medical Center and another Upstate hospital, with more expected to be printed and dispersed.

AFL's Kelvin Turner holding the face shield

Kelvin Turner, applications engineering manager for AFL’s conductor accessories, noticed multiple companies providing personal protection equipment for the medical industry and felt compelled to support efforts locally. In a conversation with Anita Turner, his mother and a local nurse practitioner, Kelvin learned that medical associates were conserving N-95 masks as much as possible due to the lack of availability.

“Looking into both masks and face shields, I realized that face shields were faster to make and posed no health risk to the medical staff when wearing them,” explained Kelvin. “Additionally, face shields provide greater protection from exposure to bodily fluids.”

After researching distribution sources to purchase face shields, Kelvin realized that none existed locally. Within two days, he and his team researched designs online, created their own, and produced a prototype of a 3D-printed face shield. The prototype was sent to a doctor for review, approved and shared with other doctors in the community who have asked for these same face shields.   

Kelvin continued, “More than 100 face shields have been delivered to Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and 18 to another hospital. Another 100+ are immediately needed for doctors, nurses, physician assistants and nurse practitioners. We are projecting that we will create approximately 1,000 face shields for our area.”

The 3D printer at AFL supports engineering and production needs such as prototyping parts and production tooling. The printer is used daily; however, when not in use, it has been instrumental in “manufacturing” these face shields.

The face shields consist of two pieces: the 3D-printed headband made of ASA plastic and the shield made of polycarbonate. The two pieces snap together once complete and can be cleaned with chemicals hospitals use to disinfect for bacteria.

Jon Potter, commercial manager of AFL’s conductor accessories, recently noted another need—surgical mask strap relief devices. “Nurses’ ears are bleeding from wearing surgical masks on top of N-95 masks. These devices extend the straps, relieving pressure around the ears,” stated Jon. These devices are currently being tested at Spartanburg Regional.

Pelham Medical Center President Tony Kouskolekas thanked AFL for its generous donation, which will benefit frontline caregivers.

“We can’t thank AFL enough for its support,” Kouskolekas said. “The outpouring of support we’ve received from the community has been truly inspiring.”
 
For more information on 3D-printed facial shields, contact Kelvin Turner, 864.764.4233 or Kelvin.Turner@AFLglobal.com.

About Spartanburg Regional
With more than 9,000 associates, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System offers a full spectrum of services at more than 100 physician offices from Greenville County to Western North Carolina, as well as six hospital campuses in Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union counties.

Spartanburg Medical Center is a research and teaching hospital with two locations in Spartanburg: Spartanburg Medical Center campus on East Wood Street and Spartanburg Medical Center—Mary Black Campus on Skylyn Drive. With a total of 747 beds, Spartanburg Medical Center offers state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for Upstate South Carolina residents.

At the intersection of Westmoreland Road and Highway 14, Pelham Medical Center is Greer’s first certified Primary Stroke Center and provides a wide range of services including surgery, intensive care, emergency services, full diagnostic capabilities, medical and surgical specialties, world-class cancer treatment and primary care. Pelham Medical Center consists of 48 inpatient rooms and is continuously expanding services to meet the needs of patients.

For more information, visit SpartanburgRegional.com.

About AFL
Founded in 1984, AFL is an international manufacturer providing end-to-end solutions to the energy, service provider, enterprise and industrial markets as well as several emerging markets. The company’s products are in use in over 130 countries and include fiber optic cable and hardware, transmission and substation accessories, outside plant equipment, connectivity, test and inspection equipment, fusion splicers and training. AFL also offers a wide variety of services supporting data center, enterprise, wireless and outside plant applications.
 
Headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, AFL has operations in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujikura Ltd. of Japan. For more information, visit www.AFLglobal.com. Follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and “like us” on Facebook. Review our blog or subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter.

Contacts
Kelvin Turner
Engineering Manager, AFL
864.764.4233
Kelvin.Turner@AFLglobal.com

Corie Culp
Public Relations Manager, AFL
864.433.5409
Corie.Culp@AFLglobal.com

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