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News Release, NAVAIR Public Affairs
PATUXENT RIVER, MD.—– The Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division’s (NAWCAD’s) Innovation Hub (iHub) is no stranger to supporting the community with its additive manufacturing capability and is doing so now.
As part of a DON effort to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the iHub, along with the Naval Air Systems Command’s (NAVAIR) Additive Manufacturing (AM) Integrated Program Team and NAVAIR’s Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cell. produced 80 medical face shields this week in response to a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region VIII request.
The initial request came from FEMA and University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus representatives who reached out to the Marine Corps Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell (AMOC), which in turn contacted the DON distributed manufacturing network to request production of 220 face shields.
NAVAIR’s AM team reviewed and developed a complete technical manufacturing plan to ensure that all shields produced are high quality and meet requirements. NAVAIR will provide the manufacturing plan to the community so everyone can make the shields.
“The dedication of this team is amazing and being part of this effort is extremely rewarding. Our goal is to make the detailed manufacturing technical data packages for medical supplies and personal protective gear available so any agency can download and print them,” said Liz McMichael, NAVAIR’s AM Integrated Program Team Lead.
The team worked through the weekend to manufacture the face shields to help fulfill the request in conjunction with eight other Navy sites.
David Hamm, with the Mechanisms and Modeling and Simulation Lab at NAWCAD, is part of the iHub team who volunteered to produce face shields and other personal protection equipment (PPE) for the local community.
“The 3D printing material we are using is a thermal plastic. We use either polylactic acid (PLA), which is more readily available, or polyethylene terephthalate glycol (PETG), which is the preferred plastic. Since home printers usually use PLA, we made a design that works with that so we can have as many people as possible make this PPE,” Hamm said.
Supporting the local community during this challenging time is rewarding, Hamm said.
“We all have grandparents or parents who we are helping out. We all know nurses and doctors, so this project brings it back home for a lot of us,” he said.
The iHub is also producing face shields and other PPE for local community partners.
According to Denise Cifone, NAWCAD Chief Technology and Strategic Operations Director, the iHub received a request for headbands that support the face shields from the University of Maryland’s TechPort—a NAWCAD technology partner—located in Southern Maryland.
“The iHub team has printed and provided 119 headbands and intends to continually support this need as long as necessary. NAWCAD has a passionate, talented and caring workforce that is dedicated to helping the COVID-19 cause in any way they can. We are all in this together,” Cifone said.
These efforts are being replicated across all NAVAIR sites to assist in COVID-19 local response.
The Navy and Marine Corps have partnered with America Makes—a national manufacturing institute—to integrate government and commercial manufacturing capacity into a distributing manufacturing network to respond to urgent supply needs. The institute is coordinating the requests through its website at https://www.americamakes.us/
NAVAIR is currently standing up a website to assist in fulfilling critical supply needs for local and private partners across the nation once coordination with FEMA is initiated.