Inside INdiana Business

Purdue team begins producing protective equipment for hospitals

(photo courtesy of Purdue University)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A new Purdue University group says it has started producing much-needed personal protective equipment for Indiana hospitals. 

The university says the medical supplies include safety glasses and face shields, and they expect to start delivery as soon as this week.

The volunteer group from Purdue, which dubs themselves the Boiler ‘Makers’, includes about 40 participating faculty and staff members, representing Purdue Polytechnic Institute, the College of Engineering, and the College of Pharmacy and the School of Nursing, among others.

The Purdue Boiler ‘Makers’ are working closely with physicians and staff at IU Health, IU School of Medicine and Franciscan Health to develop plans for the supplies. The group’s plans are being facilitated by county health officials and the Purdue University Fire Department. Purdue says its partnership with these institutions will help augment supplies of glasses, face masks, N95 respirators, and disposable fittings for ventilators.

The group’s efforts are being led by Nathan Hartman, Purdue’s Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing and head of Computer Graphics Technology.

“Getting this done has been a lesson in persistence,” Hartman said. “Two weeks ago, when a few people began sending each other emails about discussing this, it seemed like it wouldn’t be possible. But people kept getting involved and offering their expertise and equipment, and within a week we began working on a plan, and now we have produced useful PPE for the health care community.”

The university says it has several small manufacturing facilities with capabilities ranging from injection molding and vacuum forming to machining, 3D printing, and assembly operations.

Purdue says it plans to make more information available as details are worked out. “It’s a fast-moving situation, but our faculty and staff are working together to do as much as they can for the people of our state,” Hartman said. “We realized we had the expertise and the capacity to help, so why wouldn’t we?”

According to the university, it will be centrally supporting the Maker effort until resources become available for the state and federal stimulus funds to reimburse the university for the efforts.

More information can be found by clicking here.