WATERTOWN, SD — Terex Utilities recently acted on a request by Lake Area Technical Institute (LATI) to 3D print parts for face shields. The Electronic Systems Technology and Robotics departments at the technical college are leading the effort.
“Because it takes up to 13 hours to print four face shield bands, they sent a request out to local businesses to lend a hand by printing parts needed for a completed shield,” said Dan Brenden, director of engineering for Terex Utilities. Two other companies and more than a dozen individuals are also assisting the effort.
Terex Utilities initially started printing mask parts but switched to printing the bands needed for the face shields, as there was higher demand for that to protect workers from exposure to the coronavirus. With its in-house 3D printer, Terex Utilities can produce eight bands every 20 hours, and is running the printer 24/7. Terex Utilities usually uses its 3D printer for rapid prototyping of small parts for digger derrick or aerial device product design, explained Brenden.
With students sent home to work remotely, the technical institute’s 30 3D printers were sitting idle, which gave Brooks Jacobsen, department supervisor for electronics systems technology and robotics at LATI, the idea. To date, about 800 face shields and 100 masks have been distributed to health care providers in South Dakota and Minnesota.
“We have had tremendous community support for the effort. In addition to those using their 3D printers, we have also had material donated,” said Jacobsen. “It’s been a good thing.”
Terex Utilities has a long relationship with LATI, which also has programs for Diesel Technology, Precision Machining, Welding, and Energy and Heavy Equipment Operations. Several Terex team members participate on advisory boards at the school, and the company supports the Build South Dakota Scholarship program.
Through this program, Terex Utilities provides internships for students, followed by employment opportunities. In addition, Terex Utilities holds its annual service training school on the institute’s campus.
“During times of crisis, it is especially important to support the needs of our local communities, as well as those of our customers. We are glad we could contribute a small part to the effort to produce the face shield bands needed by health care professionals near and far,” said Joe Caywood, Director of Marketing.