A team of Amazon engineers from the drone delivery unit worked with a group of 3D printing volunteers to develop reusable face shields for frontline employees, the company said in a blog post on Thursday.
The mechanical design and hardware teams from Amazon Prime Air have adapted the design for the shields of the 3D Face Shield Hub of the US state of Washington and made the shields more comfortable and practical based on the feedback from medical professionals. For example, the new design has less sharp corners that could get caught on hair or clothing, and a headband that reduces pressure on the user̵
“When you think of Amazon, of course you don’t think of hardware design,” wrote Brad Porter, vice president of robotics at Amazon, in the blog post. “But many teams across the company specialize in this discipline.” The company rebuilt its manufacturing facilities, Porter wrote, and turned a machine that is normally used to cut material for the manufacture of drones into a machine that cuts screens for face shields.
Sales of the face shields will initially be limited to front-line employees, Amazon said, but the company expects to sell them “at a significantly lower price” than others on the market, Porter wrote. The design was approved by the National Institutes of Health and should be on sale soon on Amazon, the company said.
Amazon has also created an open source design package for 3D printing and injection molding that allows anyone with the equipment to make their own shields. The company has already donated 10,000 shields.
Amazon did not respond to an email from The edge Asking if it was going to provide the face shields for its own workers. Many Amazon warehouse workers have complained that they have not been provided with enough personal protective equipment to prevent the spread of the coronavirus at their workplaces.