June 1, 2020

DOST Speeds Up Production of Face Shields

Twitter: edd1819, Instagram: bluestar0910, Facebook: SDN -- Science, Digital & Current Affairs By EDD K. USMAN (SDN) -- EARN while performing a duty for country and people. No period is as crucial as the current situation with the novel coronavirus continuing to sweep the world, a world still incapable of halting the virus' deathly march. The duty is by becoming part of the national government's campaign aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19. And if science and technology (S&T) is your cup of tea, that would help in getting in at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Note that the DOST -- inclusive of the Philippine vibrant science community, meaning researchers and scientists -- is getting a lot of attention nowadays. A boon to the scientific mind and its endeavors like no other time. As Science Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña told SDN, DOST plans to invite "S&T experts and personnel to work on projects" related to the battle versus the virus that continues its spread in nearly 200 countries and regions. Since China first reported the disease on December 31, 2019, to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has infected 3,117,204 people and killed over 217,193 worldwide based on an April 29 figures of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) of the United States. In the Philippines per the Department of Health (DOH) as of 4 p.m. of April 28, total confirmed cases rose to 7,958, fatalities at 530, and recovered patients of Covid-19 stood at 975. An expectedly game and patient de la Peña, in an exchange of a series of more than 20 SMS with SDN, welcomed the national government's acknowledgment of the role of science during the pandemic new coronavirus. An inspiration, he said. "We are inspired that the national government is now realizing the important role of science and technology -- in addressing pressing national problems, generating innovations to new needs/demands, in encouraging entrepreneurship and in having the capability to do international collaboration. In general it is a key factor for a nation's development and competitiveness," the Philippine science supremo says. De la Peña made the tribute to the national government following President Rodrigo R. Duterte's order to the DOST and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to go and hire more personnel. The President said the two goverrnment agencies should extend their operations to 24 hours. "If you want to give your services, volunteer, I have authorized this both...these two offices, FDA and DOST) to employ as much, as many that would be required to hasten and to enable agencies to work day and night," Duterte says as quoted by Rappler.com. The President emphasized the government was not operating under normal battle circumstances. De la Peña obviously got the presidential message loud and clear. "Actually, priority yung (in) hiring ng (of) project personnel who will work on soon-to-start Covid-19 Projects (technical people). We will also activate more scholar volunteers who will help our regional offices in their Covid-19 services," de la Peña reveals. "We will get more S&T experts who can serve as consultants who can evaluate many proposals we receive, and who can also give advice on specific areas." Lots of hands, apparently "Sa scholars pa lang baka mga 200 to 300 additional (personnel)," he adds. (With just the scholars maybe from 200 to 300 more.) The science chief said the projects in the pipeline include clinical trials, medical devices, and assistance to testing centers. He said budget for the planned additional S&T experts and related personnel would be drawn from the DOST budget initially. "Pag ubos na hihingi kami ng dagdag." (If our budget runs out, we will ask for additional funds.) Of the projects, the one on the Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) is now undergoing trials while on lagundi and tawa-tawa herbals are still being planned. De la Peña said additional personnel for Covid-19 projects will be done on an invitation basis. (SDN)

Media Release:

Shifting to high gear in supporting the Philippines’ front-liners in battling the Covid-19 pandemic, the Department of Science and Technology accelerated its production of face shields to be distributed in various hospitals in the country.

Two research and development institutes of DOST and one research laboratory in a state university have devoted their resources in creating 3D printed face shields.

The DOST Metals Industry Research and Development Center (DOST-MIRDC), led by its Executive Director Engr. Robert O. Dizon, is now doing mass production of face shields as it fabricated an injection mold that can make 2,500 face shields per day.

MIRDC started producing face shields through the Additive Manufacturing Center (AMCen) which 3D printed the face shields at 50 per day.

Increased production volume of these face shields is made possible through the DOST-MIRDC’s technology partners:  the Omnifab, which fabricated another injection mold; while the Megasamsotite Plant in San Pedro, Laguna offered its facility as site for mass production.  Another 2,500 face shields can be  produced, for a total of 5,000 face shields daily through simultaneous productions at the DOST-MIRDC in Bicutan, Taguig, and in San Pedro, Laguna.

The Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), another DOST research and development institute, has already 3D printed 100 pieces of face shields which were delivered to the Philippine Heart Center.

Led by ITDI Director Dr. Annabelle V. Briones, the agency worked 24 hours to produce the face shields and more will be produced by the Philippine Science High School Main Campus with the materials provided by ITDI.

Bataan Peninsula State University – Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (BPSU-AMREL), a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development and led by its Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit, has created a process that combines 3D printing and injection molding in creating face shields at a faster pace but in a more customizable manner.

AMREL Project Leader Dr. John Ray Dizon said they are looking at the process of using 3D printing, for creating customizable molds, and injection molding, for mass production of the face shields.

He said that this process can be used as well for other items that need customization but in a smaller quantity.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara revealed that the agency has found innovations to decrease the production time of face shields, a vital component in protecting front-liners facing the global pandemic.

“As we make change happen through research and development, we find ways in helping out our new heroes facing Covid-19.  We shall continue to look for better means to support our front-liners through research and development,” she said. (DOST Media Services)

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