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Texas A&M at Qatar producing face shields for Qatar Red Crescent Society to aid in virus fight

Published May 27, 2020

Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) will soon have 1,000 critically needed new face shields to protect its volunteers, thanks to the state-of-the-art 3D printing and manufacturing facilities and expertise in the Mechanical Engineering Program at Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

The first batch of shields have recently been delivered to QRCS, whose volunteers and workers need more than just a surgical mask to protect themselves from contracting the virus from quarantined patients. That’s where the Rapid Prototyping Lab in Texas A&M at Qatar’s Mechanical Engineering Program came in.

A team of faculty and lab engineers examined existing designs for face shields. After fabricating and testing a few prototypes and making design modifications, they arrived at a new design that provides improved protection. The team used advanced laser-cutting equipment to accurately cut the sheets and state-of-the-art 3D printing machines and design tools to fabricate the frames. The face shields were then assembled, disinfected and packaged for delivery. 

Mechanical engineering laboratories manager Dr. Yasser Al-Hamidi said, “We are excited to direct our efforts and resources to support Qatar Red Crescent and other national stakeholders in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in Qatar. We have reconfigured one of our laboratories as an assembly and production line to be able to produce large quantities of the face shields. Our dedicated lab engineers are working around the clock to deliver the 1,000 face shields to Qatar Red Crescent.”

Abdullah Sultan Al-Qatan, Executive Director of QRCS’s Medical Affairs Division thanked Texas A&M at Qatar for this valuable contribution. “Our volunteers and medical professionals are doing an amazing job at the quarantine and other health facilities managed by QRCS. These face shields are vital for them to be safe while taking care of the patients. We do appreciate them as an indispensable asset for our country against the coronavirus pandemic.” 

The full-cover face shields are just one of the several types of personal protective equipment and medical devices produced by the Mechanical Engineering Program at Texas A&M at Qatar. These projects are part of Texas A&M at Qatar’s mission to the State of Qatar, said Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, associate dean for research and advancement. “At Texas A&M at Qatar, our vision is to be an essential resource to the State of Qatar. The technical expertise of our faculty and our well-equipped engineering laboratories are proving to be instrumental in supporting Qatar’s nationwide efforts in combating this pandemic. These efforts will not only help protect health care professionals, but will also save a tremendous amount of highly needed resources.”