The Maricopa Community Colleges Are 3D Printing PPE For Medical Workers

May, 6 2020

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The Maricopa Community Colleges in collaboration with the Healthcare Education Department and the Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation, are using 3D printers for manufacturing and donating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). PPE will be delivered to healthcare providers and first responders across the Valley to bring relief to the Arizona community and assist those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our employees, faculty, and staff are the heart of our Institutions, and through our collective efforts, we are committed to working together in the service of those who need it most,” said Dr. Steven R. Gonzales, Interim Chancellor. “Our Colleges have demonstrated remarkable compassion and empathy over the past several weeks, and I am honored to be part of a system that can adapt to a very challenging situation and support our community.”

Community Colleges Efforts in Manufacturing PPE

  • Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) will be using their five 3D printers to mass produce ear guards to help protect against the irritation of wearing face masks for hours a day. Their goal is to produce 1,500 ear guards in the next two weeks and up to 1000 per week after that. The team is working to identify organizations that have a need but is already planning to deliver these guards to many of the local healthcare organizations, including hospitals, hospice facilities, and first responders. EMCC Staff are working to identify ways that students can be involved from the safety of their own homes.
  • Glendale Community College’s (GCC) Computer Aided Drafting Department has begun production of face shields. GCC has one 3D printer and is producing face shields over the next several weeks to be donated to the Southwest Kidney Institute and other local first responders.
  • Paradise Valley Community College (PVCC) has begun production of face shields in support of Arizona State University’s PPE Response Network. They are utilizing five 3D printers, and expect to produce at least 50 shields a week. Engineering students are working remotely on some of the design/programming requirements. PVCC Help Desk/Computer commons staff and student workers are monitoring the printers and assembling the final products.
  • South Mountain Community College (SMCC) has two 3D printers to produce safety face shields. SMCC engineering faculty currently has been producing and providing safety face shields for campus Public Safety officers and the police department.

“It's been exciting to be part of this cross-District collaborative effort to use our resources and skills in support of health care providers,” said Christianne Nieuwsma, PVCC Interim Dean of Career & Technical Education. “Our Engineering students and faculty have been able to contribute to a vital real-world need through their 3D printing expertise, and our campus Technology teams have been able to quickly pivot and provide support. We are proud to be able to participate in a small way in helping our communities get through this crisis by creating and donating hard-to-purchase PPE.”

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation is raising dollars with its greatest needs fund to support the materials and supplies for this effort. In total, EMCC, GCC, PVCC, and SMCC have produced over 3,000 ear guards and 185 face shields in the past two weeks. They have donated items to campus public safety, Banner Health, Southwest Kidney Institute, Equality Care Center, Goodyear Police Department, Hospice of the Valley, Phoenix Fire Department, Sun Health, Comprehensive Hospice Palliative Care, and the Salvation Army.

The Maricopa Community Colleges will continue to share supplies with front line workers across the Valley. For more information on food resources and basic needs please visit our website.

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