June 02, 2020 • 2 min read

People power in the depths of a global pandemic

The COVID-19 global pandemic is among the greatest challenges of our time, but the ingenuity and resourcefulness of our people is shining through.

We’re witnessing the severe impacts of COVID-19 across all our regions. But amid the most difficult circumstances, our people are using their expertise and resources to help protect those in need while keeping the wheels turning at work.

Making masks out of thin air

Thank you to Montana civil engineer, Eirik Knutson, who has been using his home 3D printer to produce medical masks for his local hospital.

Erik holding his designed protective mask against his face.

Eirik was watching a local news bulletin when a doctor shared that he had created a medical mask 3D model and made it available to people in the community with 3D printers.

He fired up the printer that evening and has been printing masks as often as he can.

Eirik wasn’t alone in responding to the call. By Thursday, another news story shared they had more than 30,000 downloads of the mask from all over the world.

“I’m glad to be helping out,” said Eirik, “and I plan to keep printing for however long they’re needed.”

It takes about six hours to print a mask on Eirik’s printer and costs around $1.20. The masks are reusable and durable. Once he donates them to the hospital, they are sanitized, and the remaining parts are added including the filter, seal and elastic bands.

Added protection for frontline workers in Trinidad 

3D printer.

Thank you to Shivanand Chanderbally and Amjad Ali from our Trinidad office for putting their 3D printers to work around the clock to meet requests for face shields.

Face shields offer greater protection for frontline workers, particularly for those with direct exposure to patients in hospitals and health centers. They are considered personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the wearer's entire face and are worn alongside a standard N95 face mask.

They are intended for persons who are in close contact with individuals who may be infected and prevents large droplets from coming into contact with their face through coughing or sneezing.

To date, they have printed over 100 masks and over 300 shields, and this figure will double as the request list increases daily amid efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago.

But it’s not just masks that matter

Thank you to Dianna Phu, Senior Geologist at Intecsea, for using her home 3D printer to make ear savers in Houston.

Dana sitting in front of her 3D printer.

Ear savers help to avoid irritation and give the ears of medical workers and essential employees a break after long periods of wearing masks. At under 12 cents apiece to produce using a design available online, Dianna and her husband can make 10 ear savers every three hours in a variety of colors – red, white, blue, black, space grey, light grey, metallic purple and even glow in the dark.

“We want to do our part to help during this crazy time and we have the materials and tools to do so,” said Dianna. “There’s no charge. We will ship. It’s the least we can do to help those putting themselves on the front line to keep us all going.”

Dianna has put out the call to those in and around Houston. So far, they’ve received requests for more than 200 pieces, mostly for NICU and ICU nurses, first responders and essential workers, as well as an entire staff of nursing home workers.


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