The novel coronavirus outbreak has opened a new market for face shields as protective gear for doctors, policemen, and other frontline workers and a bunch of 20-year-olds from Mumbai has taken the lead in designing and manufacturing them.
Arjun and Parth Panchal, co-founders of 3D printer manufacturer Boson Machines, are providing healthcare professionals face shields to keep them safe from contracting the infection from patients.
Face shields are physical barriers meant to protect the facial area from splashes and spatter of body fluids. However, they cannot be used alone and are worn over the face masks for additional protection. With the help of Dr Swapneil Parikh, Boson Machines connected with experts and doctors who helped in curating and designing the product.
Arjun says that the current capacity of the manufacturing startup is 500-800 shields per day, but can scale it to 4,000 pieces in full capacity. However, this too is not enough to meet the current demand. “There are 20,000 face shields being used by doctors across India. The total requirement for the shields is more than four lakh in Maharashtra alone,” he added.
The shields are priced at Rs 150 a piece but Arjun hopes to provide them for free to government hospitals. “We have kept the standard rate across the country. For all private hospitals, we are giving it out at Rs 150 per piece while for government hospitals, we are trying to cater to them for free but we are in need of a lot of funds,” he says.
Once doctors use the mask, they will need to throw it after completing the treatment and replace it with a new one.
The startup is facing problems in delivering the products due to logistical skirmishes amid lockdown. In order to ensure availability, Arjun himself has delivered the shields to local hospitals in Mumbai.