It takes a village: Marshfield business develops product to help protect medical, emergency workers
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield’s Dental Crafters has reallocated resources to assist in supplying protective gear to help local providers in a time of shortage. The dental laboratory has developed prototypes to manufacture 3-D printed protective face shields, to assist the Marshfield Clinic Health Systems and local emergency workers.
“We are a dental laboratory, so we manufacture dental prosthetics and all of the dental offices are shut down, so we had to lay off over 60 people last week,” said Robert Slominski, who owns the business with his brother, Brad. “The work has kind of slowed down coming in the door. Marshfield Clinic reached out to us and said, ‘Hey, do you have any donated supplies?’ and we said ‘yes, we will donated whatever we can.’ So, all of our gloves, masks, and gowns went up to them.
“I was talking to the (representative) and I said ‘Is there anything else we can help with?’ and she said, ‘Well, we should be using face shields.’ So, we went to town and two of our engineers drew up some different prototypes and then we went out and looked for some designs that were on the web.
“We grabbed some of those designs and tweaked them a tad bit, and then we were able to load them into our 3-D printers. Then, we started 3-D printing them.
“What the shield does is it keeps any type of fluids from coming at your face. It also covers up the N95 masks, so it helps preserve the N95s.
“Within two or three days, we were getting product manufactured and getting it out the door. (on March 26), we dropped off a bunch of them at the Marshfield Fire Department – the EMS and fire department. We reached out to the Marshfield Police Department too, and of course we care doing anything for the Marshfield Clinic.”
The facilities are now up in full production of the masks.
“We should be able to produce 120 a day,” Slominski
The community has also reached out to assist, with 3-D printer owners contacting Dental Crafters to assist.
“We had All Metal Stamping, we were working with them today. They are a custom fabrication shop; they also do plastic injection molding,” he added. “They are actually going to tool up a plastic injection mold. They’ll be able to produce a lot more than we can printing them. It’ll take them a week or so to get up and running on them.
“We are going to be working seven days a week producing these. We have about five people on staff just making those now.”
Slominski said that the clinic is in need of 10,000 and gives credit to his employees on the shield’s development.
“When we first saw this as a need. How everyone here from our engineers to our IT guys just jumped in and said ‘How can we help and what do we need?’ he recalled.
Slominski has donated all of the product produced.