KITCHENER — A local manufacturer who answered the call for medical equipment is taking its contribution a step further.
Last month, InkSmith began 3-D printing face shields for frontline workers. Now, it’s ramping up production through a new company called The Canadian Shield.
According to a news release, that company has the capacity to produce 50,000 face shields per day.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been extremely concerned about the critical shortage of medical equipment that our frontline healthcare workers are facing during this unprecedented global pandemic,” Founder and CEO Jeremy Hedges is quoted in the release.
“Using InkSmith’s existing tools and infrastructure, we realized we were in a position to help.”
On Monday, Premier Doug Ford said that Ontario could run out of personal protective equipment (PPE) within a week because of global shipment delays, U.S. restrictions and a lag in domestic production.
InkSmith first began producing the shields at its facility in Kitchener using an open-source design created in the Czech Republic.
Since then, though, The Canadian Shield created its own laser-cut design that eliminates the need for time-consuming 3D printed parts.
Their shields have already been rolled out in Grand River Hospital, Cambridge Memorial Hospital and others across the province, and can be washed and sanitized for reuse.
The news release says that the company has hired 60 laid-off workers, with plans to hire hundreds more over the next few weeks.
“This is more than just a short-lived enterprise to combat the spread of COVID-19. We are making a long-term commitment to bringing Canadian manufacturing back to the Kitchener-Waterloo region and our hope is that we can help as many people as we can along the way,” said Hedges in the release.
The company is looking to open a second manufacturing facility and says it will be exploring opportunities for global distribution.