Western, General Dynamics team on face shields

Special to Western News

General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada and Western have teamed up to produce and deliver more than 8,800 face shields – completely free of charge – to 45 hospital, health-care systems, health teams, and extended-care facilities. Production continues at the General Dynamics facility in London.

Based on an initiative, concept and design by Western, General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada is now producing approximately 500 medical face shields per day to support Canada’s fight against COVID-19.

The London-based global aerospace and defence company is filling orders daily across the province with plans to expand further if demand remains.

More than 11,000 medical face shields have been ordered since production started in mid-April. General Dynamics and Western have already delivered 8,800 – completely free of charge – to 45 hospital, health-care systems, health teams, and extended-care facilities.

Last month, Western teams across campus began supporting the production of low-cost, substantively effective medical face shields.

To construct, the Advanced Manufacturing team at University Machine Services, an ancillary service based in Western Engineering, sheared and formed polycarbonate to create the shield face. They then attached Velcro fasteners, designed and 3D-printed by the Physics and Astronomy Machine Shop, to the completed masks to allow for adjustable head placement.

Machine Services Manager Clayton Cook and his team provided designs and initial materials to General Dynamics to “supersize the project.” Now, the defence company is sourcing its own materials to meet growing demands.

“The strength of London is built on partnerships. That’s why I wasn’t surprised when General Dynamics joined this project and ramped up production so quickly,” said Peter White, Executive Director (Government Relations and Strategic Partnerships) at Western. “We’re so pleased to be working together on this project, which is obviously so important to everyone in the community.”

Western’s initiative is a great idea and the company is happy to collaborate on the project, said John Ellison, Vice-President and General Manager of General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada.

“We were looking for a natural fit to contribute in a positive way here in Canada and abroad during this global pandemic. When we learned what Western was doing with medical face shields, we wanted to connect right away. It was a great idea and we knew we could help,” Ellison said.

Face shields are vitally important to the global fight against COVID-19 as they extend the duration of surgical masks used by health-care workers interacting with at-risk patients. The shields also help prevent potential spreading of the virus by health-care workers to others in medical settings.

The Ontario Advanced Manufacturing Consortium is supporting this initiative.

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Hospitals and other health-care providers looking to order medical face shields can contact Lee Smithson, Advanced Manufacturing Consortium Western’s Business Development Lead, at lee@westernamc.ca.