KEYPORT, Washington (NNS) -- The Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Division, Keyport is working to use its additive manufacturing capabilities to create face shields in support of the local Washington State medical community during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Additive manufacturing, sometimes called 3D printing, is a process that allows the manufacture of a broad range of items, from simple face shields to complex parts used onboard U.S. Navy ships and submarines.
Ross Wilhelm, Principal Technologist in NUWC Keyport’s Maintenance, Engineering and Industrial Operations Department, said a team of Department engineers, led by Bryce Weber, the Applied Technology Lead, began looking for ways to support local first responders when the scope of the pandemic became apparent.
“Our Director of Engagement, Johannes Schonberg, reached out to the Naval Hospital and the Washington State Health Care Response Team to see what their critical needs were,” Wilhelm said. “At the same time, there's been an absolute explosion of personal protective equipment (PPE) designs being shared on the internet, including among Keyport employees, voluntarily printing PPE at home, all of which helped to identify a good candidate PPE Keyport could manufacture.”
The NUWC Keyport team is partnering with Naval Hospital Bremerton to test the face shields while working to determine how many face shields it will be able to produce.
"Our top production number is still to be determined. Our initial project will help define our expected production capacity," said Wilhelm.
Dr. Marty Irvine, NUWC Keyport’s technical director, said the command has not only spent the time working on testing designs with Naval Hospital Bremerton, but has also been writing the contractual agreements required by federal code to facilitate distribution of products to civilian health care professionals.
“We have just signed a Work for Private Party agreement with CHI Franciscan in Bremerton, to produce personal protective equipment,” said Irvine. “We are committed to serving our community and our nation during this crisis. With the right contractual agreements, private parties will be able to procure personal protective equipment from us.”
For more news from Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division, Keyport, visit www.navy.mil/local/nuwcd/.