High-quality locally made face shields are today rolling off a Malaga production line as Western Australia begins manufacture of emergency personal protective equipment (PPE).
Strong demand for these items is expected to continue throughout the COVID-19 emergency. The local manufacture of up to 10,000 face-shields will help the WA health system maintain ongoing supplies.
The new venture has been led by biomedical engineers from the East Metropolitan Health Service’s Centre for Implant Technology and Retrieval Analysis (CITRA), who will also oversee production.
The six-member team is based at Royal Perth Hospital and is internationally renowned for its expertise in assessing the safety and quality of medical products and devices.
It will ensure the locally made equipment, which has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, meets the high safety and quality standards required for hospitals.
CITRA also produces customised implants and medical devices for use in WA hospitals.
Members of the team began investigating the feasibility of producing PPE after recognising their expertise could be applied to assist with the COVID-19 response.
Following this initial due diligence, the team joined forces with engineers from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research and University of WA, Chief Scientist Peter Klinken and local industry. The collaborators assessed designs and manufacturing capability, obtained clinical approval for the final prototypes and ensured ongoing access to quality, locally available materials.
CITRA will be the official manufacturer of the shields, with actual production outsourced to local plastics engineering firm, Adarsh Australia.
Two types of shield will be produced – a standard shield to be used by general hospital staff as well as a more specialised design for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeons.
CITRA has also been involved in ground-breaking research, including work to help patients requiring cranial reconstruction to regrow sections of their own skulls using human stem cells and advanced 3-D printing technology.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“This is an example of the innovative important work taking place across the WA health system and will make an enormous contribution to our efforts to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the WA community.
“The production of these shields will enhance the safety of WA health staff and patients and highlights the resourcefulness of Western Australians in times of need.
“What is especially great about this project is that it is not only ensuring our hospital staff have access to protective equipment that we know is of the highest safety standard but that it is also locally produced.
“CITRA is the only hospital-based facility of its kind in Australia and we are very fortunate to have such a wonderful resource in WA.
“This project is also a credit to CITRA’s collaborators – the engineers from the Perkins Institute and UWA, the clinicians who provided their feedback on the designs, the two local companies involved – plastics engineering firm Adarsh Australia, and Dunlop (which is producing the foam) – and WA’s chief Scientist Peter Klinken who helped bring all the parties together.
“The McGowan Government is also grateful to the many members of the public who have contributed to the production of these shields through donations to the Harry Perkins Institute totalling $65,000.”
For vision of quality testing of the face shields at CITRA please follow the hyperlink below