WEST WINDSOR, NJ – Mercer County Community College (MCCC) will be manufacturing hundreds of face safety shields in its Advanced Manufacturing laboratory thanks to a generous contribution from The Tuchman Foundation, college officials have announced. Hundreds of face safety shields will be manufactured in the College's Advanced Manufacturing laboratory to safeguard the health and safety of the medical services professionals combating the regional spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“Our local heroes are the medical professionals and EMTs who are risking their lives every day. We must do our part to protect them,” said MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang. “We are a community college. It is our duty to serve our communities, especially in a time like this. We must do all we can, and we know they need the protective gear to keep themselves, and our community, safe.”
To date, requests for the face shields have been received from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, Penn Medicine, Mercer County Office of Emergency Management, Henry J. Austin Health Center, and other organizations that are on the front lines fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.
MCCC's state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing lab is complete with computerized lathes, computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines, and 3-dimensional (3-D) printers. Constructed in 2017, the 3,000-square-foot lab prepares graduates of the Advanced Manufacturing program for careers in high-tech industry.
When they saw the current need for medical safety equipment, The Tuchman Foundation readily offered a solution by providing the funding for materials to produce the units by utilizing the faster, more efficient Advanced Manufacturing equipment. The Tuchman Foundation had initially contributed to the 3-D printer lab when it first opened.
“When I heard there was a problem acquiring shields, it was described as a manufacturing issue,” said Martin Tuchman, chairman of the Foundation. “I recalled that Dr. Wang was on the forefront of creating an advanced, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at the school, and when this shortage occurred, the first thing I did was call Dr. Wang. She not only responded positively, but within 24 hours had a game plan, a prototype, and a request for orders. We were in business.”
Professor Jim Maccariella, coordinator of the Engineering Science and Civil Engineering Technology program, led his team colleagues, Professors Harry Bittner and Michael Hanna, to explore the possibility of using 3-D printers to produce face shields. They were able to cut production time to make one shield down from two-and-a half hours to about eight minutes with the use of a 3-D printer.
Hanna said he expects to produce 160 shields a day once in full production, a task he will volunteer to fulfill in addition to his duties as a full-time instructor.
“It’s definitely another full time job, but is well worth it to serve the community and save lives,” Hanna said. “In addition, this is an American made product, a local product serving local needs.”
Wang echoed that sentiment, adding that “it is the mission of Mercer County Community College to respond to the needs of our local communities in the best way we can.”
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