“We heard there was a dire need in our community and we knew we could help, so we dedicated a team to work on it immediately,” said Joseph Pregont II, vice president of corporate sales at Prent. “The added capacity means we have an entire production line dedicated to making face shields without impacting other orders. We’ll continue face shield production until hospital supply chains can meet the demand.”
Right now, many healthcare workers are forced to reuse surgical masks because they’re in short supply. The face shield covers the whole face to help keep masks clean so they can be safely used longer.
An Efficient New Design
Prent designers tried creating a traditional face shield with three parts (shield, foam cushion and elastic headband) but found it would take too long to get all the parts from suppliers, so the company designed an innovative solution made of only plastic and foam that could be produced and delivered quickly. Doctor Kathleen Agard from Mercyhealth tested some prototypes and choose one that fit well without fogging up.
“Less than 12 hours after I first spoke to Prent, they had prototypes for me to see,” Agard said. “I’m really impressed that they were so responsive and giving of their time. The face shield is very important because it helps keep our staff and patients safe. ”
The scratch-resistant, recycled PETG plastic material from sister company, GOEX, was extruded in an unprecedented 24 hours. The machine die was developed by local Millenium Die Group in just five hours. Then full production began.
During the first shift at Prent, workers produced 2,200 face shields and had them delivered to Mercyhealth. The company intends to continue making face shields for the foreseeable future until there is no longer a shortage at medical facilities. Prent estimates it has the capacity to make millions of face shields per week.