Sheridan team creates PPE for front-line healthcare workers


Sheridan College’s Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies (CAMDT) has answered the call to create personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers at CAMDT, located at Sheridan’s Davis Campus in Brampton, Ont., delivered a total of 1,900 certified and reusable face shields: 1,700 to Brampton Civic Hospital and 200 to an Extendicare Long Term Care Facility.

Using 3D printers and laser and waterjet-cutting machines, the research team created two types of reusable, medical-grade face shields from blueprints shared by local hospitals and clinicians, said CAMDT manager Saleh Jiddawi.

“Sheridan received numerous calls from community health partners to help meet their needs for PPE at the outset of the pandemic,” he said.

The shield designs were developed in partnership with the University Health Network (UHN) via the Toronto Emergency Device Accelerator (TEDA) and included consultation and testing with hospital staff and front-line workers and used a Design for Manufacturing (DFM) approach.

One is a standard face shield with plastic component parts that is pre-assembled, and the other is a foldable-style shield, made from a single sheet of plastic, which can be efficiently flat packed for shipping.

“This is an unexpected and unprecedented situation, and we’re fortunate to have the technology and expertise to make a meaningful contribution toward filling the gaps.”

– Saleh Jiddawi, manager
  Centre for Advanced Manufacturing
  & Digital Technologies

“These shields are sturdy due to the thickness of the material and, since they are fabricated in one piece, can be cleaned by dipping in a disinfectant solution, wiping with disinfectant wipes, or using a warm water and dish soap solution,” said Jiddawi. “The polycarbonate face shields are also autoclavable.”

“The initial design underwent several iterations based on feedback from healthcare workers,” explained Jiddawi. The final design was evaluated at Cambridge Materials Testing, a Health Canada recommended testing lab, to ensure it met ANSI Z87.1-2020 and CSA Z94.3-2020 standards for eye and face protectors.

“Finding innovative solutions to manufacturing bottlenecks is the bread and butter of CAMDT,” said Michelle Chrétien, PhD, director of CAMDT. “This is an unexpected and unprecedented situation, and we’re fortunate to have the technology and expertise to make a meaningful contribution toward filling the gaps.”

Completing the project, Jiddawi was joined Inside the CAMDT labs by research engineer John Phillips, PhD; Simon Heathcote, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Technology Lab manager; Ramzy Hesham Ganady, research technologist; and student researcher Raymond Sun Kit.

This PPE project was funded by the Niagara College-led Southern Ontario Network for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation (SONAMI) through Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) contributions.

All seven of SONAMI’s academic partners are taking action to combat the health crisis, including Niagara, Conestoga, Fanshawe, Lambton, Mohawk and Sheridan colleges, and McMaster University.

Since 2016, FedDev Ontario has invested more than $20 million in support of SONAMI’s growth efforts in the manufacturing innovation ecosystem. Thanks to flexibilities introduced by FedDev Ontario in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SONAMI and its member institutions have been able to harness their expertise and pivot their operations to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by building a supply of essential equipment, products and conduct research into therapeutics for Canadians.

The CAMDT team also completed an assembly video for users: