IIT madras

Members of Tejendra Swaha Sahai Sakhi Mandal women's association arrange facemasks before packing for Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation's free distribution to vendors during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Virat Nagar on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on April 30, 2020. (Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images)

CHENNAI – Two Indian Institute of Technology Madras-supported start-ups have developed personal protective equipment such as face shields and intubation boxes using 3D printing technology and commonly available stationery materials.

Initial batches of these innovations have already been supplied to frontline healthcare workers and are in the process of being scaled-up for mass production for deployment to hospitals and clinics in need across the country at affordable rates, IIT Madras said April 30.

The 3D-printed face shields and intubation boxes were developed by Fabheads Automation that specializes in manufacturing parts from plastics and fiber reinforced plastics.

"We have already supplied a few hundred face shields to various users such as police personnel and hospitals in Chennai and received excellent feedback," Dhinesh Kanagaraj, founder and CEO, Fabheads Automation, said in a statement.

"We are currently manufacturing a few hundred face shields per week using our 3D printing technology. In the next stage, we are getting ready to produce 5,000 pieces per day, with a significant decrease in per piece cost," Kanagaraj said.

Axis Defence Labs, an IIT Madras student start-up founded by Sathvik Batte, a student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, developed face shields using simple stationery items.

It is supported by "Nirmaan," the IIT Madras pre-incubator which helps convert students' ideas into products through mentorship.

In association with "CY4," an automotive start-up based in Chennai, and other start-ups across India, Axis Defence Labs plans to distribute their faces held across the country.

The low-cost face shield that can be manufactured using conventional stationery materials, developed by Axis Defence Labs, can be procured at less than Rs. 30 a piece in large volumes, and the team also has developed the capacity to supply up to 50,000 visors and 5,000 headgear a day, IIT Madras said.

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