ITS manufactures face shield masks, helping Covid-19 emergency response

The process of making a face shield mask at ITS. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

 IO, Surabaya – Institute of Technology Sepuluh November (ITS) Surabaya shows its concern to help prevent the spread of the corona outbreak or Coronavirus 19 (Covid-19) which has become a pandemic in the world today. After innovating designs of several disinfection devices, Tuesday (3/24/2020), ITS introduced new personal protective equipment (PPE) in the form of a face shield mask. 

Djoko Kuswanto ST, Head of the Integrated Digital Design Laboratory of the ITS Industrial Product Design Department, revealed that the face shield mask production target is 500 to 1,000 pieces every day. “Since Saturday (March 21, 2020-Red), we have been striving to achieve this target,” he said, in a release received by the Independent Observer. 

Djoko said panic buying was one of the forms of public response to the outbreak of Covid-19. “The medical world was also shaken by the difficulties in sourcing PPE, due to panic buying, which is seriously needed by medical personnel,” said Djoko. 

Stocks of PPE are running out, according to Djoko, who urged ITS together with the Indonesian 3D Printer Association to provide PPE assistance by producing face shield masks. Djoko, who is also the Coordinator of the Indonesian 3D Printer Association in East Java, explained that the face shield mask was chosen because it was easy to make with an estimated speed of making it fairly fast. “Moreover, masks are becoming an urgent need at this time,” he said. 

Based on data received by the Integrated Digital Design Laboratory of ITS, current mask demand is around 270,000. Supported by this fact, Djoko said that there would be two types of production procedures applied. The goal is production work efficiency. 

The 3D Printing method, said Djoko, became the first option. “The way it works is by melting the material to form the object,” he said simplifying the workings of the additive 3D Printing. The strength of the 3D Printing method, according to Djoko, is that goods can be produced in more detail as planned. 

However, for serious conditions like those of today, 3D Printing takes a long time to produce, so it is made using a device known as a CNC Router, a machine equipped with digital signal processing (DSP) in the process of cutting or engraving a certain material. In brief, Djoko said that the work system with a CNC Router is subtractive or through reduction. “From intact material, a desired shape is carved into the form of a finished product,” said the founder of the Indonesian Prototesis House. 

Using the help of a CNC Router, in collaboration with the ITS Protomodel Laboratory, production speed is expected to immediately meet the needs, especially in East Java, with requests that have reached 35,000. Djoko said, one CNC Router has almost the same production speed, with 200 to 400 printers at a time. “We chose CNC Router as the priority method.” 

The two types of plastics chosen, High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), according to Djoko are safe to use, including for medical purposes, as these two types of plastic can also be used as food packaging. Besides, both HDPE and PET plastic are easily found on the market. “This ease is so supportive of the production process, amid recommendations for social distancing,” he said. 

When asked about the distribution of products, Djoko said that these masks were only for clinical institutions that needed them. Clarifying his statement, he said, this free distribution has a distribution procedure that is not arbitrary. “We don’t want any distribution errors to those who need fewer,” he said. 

The existing team is divided into four divisions, namely, data collection on demand, production, assembly, and distribution, as an effort to prevent errors in the distribution of these free masks. Following the recommendations of the ITS Digital Design and Creative Business Faculty deans, the requests to be processed are those that follow the order flow. 

At the end of the interview session, Djoko asked for prayers and support, as well as the participation of anyone who was moved to take part as a volunteer in the production process. “There will be coordinated training for volunteers so that social distancing does not become an obstacle to achieving high production targets,” he said. 

Production partners include 20 students who are members of the Student Executive Board (BEM) of the Faculty of Medicine, Airlangga University. It is hoped, with a lot of cooperation, the products that need to be sterilized with due diligence will be increasingly qualified and guaranteed. (*/est)