University College of Technology Sarawak was appointed by the Sibu Hospital to develop a prototype of a face shield, a much-required personal protective equipment for health staff to wear in caring for patients with suspected/confirmed COVID-19 virus. The face shields were used by the healthcare worker in Sibu Hospital, as well as those in Sarawak General Hospital (SGH). The initial 3D printing and laser-cut frame designs were obtained from the 3D printing Malaysia Community. However, the design has to be further improved to meet the local requirements and considerations.
There were three main considerations in developing the face shield prototype; Design Appropriateness, Materials Characteristic and Production Technology. Prototypes were designed and developed to meet the requirement of the user from various healthcare departments. All the prototypes were then refined and produced to ensure the appropriateness of the prototype to serve its main function as a face shield with the ease of use. Characteristics and availability of materials used for the prototype were investigated. This is crucial to find materials that suit to design and methods of production.
3D printing technology and laser cutting methods were used as the machines were available in the campus. PLA filaments were used for the 3D printing machine while 0.2mm thick PVC transparent sheets and 3mm thick acrylic sheets were used for the laser cutting machine. Three different types of face shield were produced; the 3D printed frame, the single-sheet PVC shield and the acrylic frame to meet the users’ requirements at the Sibu Hospital and to overcome the shortage of face shield in Sarawak.
UCTS Vice-Chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin presented 500 sets of acrylic face shields to Sarawak General Hospital represented by its Director, Dr Ngian Hie Ung on 20th April 2020. Total of 4300 face shields produced for health staffs at Sibu Hospital and SGH. UCTS formed a team of 10 UCTS staffs to take on the task to produce the face shields with the help of sponsorships by Hock Peng Engineering Sdn Bhd, Sibu Chiang Chuan Association, KRT Swan Rejang, and Sibu Charity Group.
UCTS team was led by Dr Alan Ting Huong Yong, Deputy Director of Centre for Research and Development (CRD) with members comprises of lecturers and technicians with different background and areas of specialisation from the School of Computing and Creative Media (SCM), School of Engineering and Technology (SET) and School of Built Environment (SBE). UCTS were honoured to be acknowledged and appointed by Sibu Hospital to develop and produce the face shield in-campus to help the front-liners in Sarawak especially in Sibu.