Students showcase their innovative skills

Classes may have moved online over the past month but Nicholas Noseworthy and three of his Mechanical Engineering Technology classmates at Georgian College have been able to apply what they’ve learned toward helping produce critical personal protective equipment (PPE).

Georgian has heeded the call from health-care partners across our communities and the students are part of the Research and Innovation team manufacturing temporary face shields.

The students’ work has been two-fold. They’re still making single-use face shields and will soon have produced over 10,000 units – approximately 2,000 have already gone to the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie. The remainder will be donated to Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital, Stevenson Memorial in Alliston, and several smaller clinics in Orillia and Midland.

They have also been collaborating with Orillia-based Kubota Materials Canada Corporation. The company is putting its two 3D printers to use to produce and supply parts for masks and face shields during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our Research and Innovation team saw an opportunity to use innovative technology to meet the need of valued partners such as Kubota and we’re doing what we can to help them tool up to produce these parts,” said Mira Ray, Director, Research and Innovation at Georgian. “Kubota is supplying the materials and we’re making the inserts that will go with the bands that they’re printing.”

Georgian’s research team has also produced several dozen face shields, which includes 3D printing parts and cutting shields. The smaller printed parts are mainly used in combination with the plastic shields to make full face masks that are going out to smaller health units, pharmacies and clinics in Midland and Orillia.

In order to maintain a safe working environment and physical distancing, the students have been taking turns working in the Alectra Centre for Research, Innovation and Commercialization (C-RIC), located within Georgian’s Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre at the Barrie Campus.

“There’s a different student in the C-RIC every day,” Ray said. “This way all the students can participate in helping out our local communities.”

Noseworthy, who will be entering the second year of the Mechanical Engineering Technology program this fall, has been working as a student researcher while completing his studies and said it’s been a valuable experience to apply what he’s learned in the classroom to a real-life situation.

“This is a great opportunity for me and my classmates to use the manufacturing skills we’ve learned to assist our Canadian health-care professionals and keep them stocked up with the vital resources they need right now,” Noseworthy said. “We’re using our knowledge of manufacturing process equipment within a safe and sanitary work environment to quickly learn new equipment and adapt to what’s needed in a widespread pandemic such as COVID-19.”

The other students working on this project are Connor MacInnis, Jared Bergsma and Jack VanEgdom.

Photo: Research Assistant and Mechanical Engineering Technology student Nicholas Noseworthy puts parts into a laser cutter to produce face shields for local health-care workers.

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