Ulster County face shield production effort produces tens of thousands of units

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KINGSTON – Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan, Monday, announced that over 30,000 face shields have been produced for hospital workers, local police departments, and nursing homes throughout New York and Connecticut. Nearly eight weeks into the program, what started as a small production effort now produces thousands of pieces of PPE and is believed to be the largest community PPE production initiative in New York State and possibly the nation. 

The face shield project, started in mid-March by SUNY New Paltz Science and Engineering Dean Daniel Freedman, director of the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center, and Ryan. 

The project received financial support from the Novo Foundation and Central Hudson and initially established a production network of 3D printers in high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the Hudson Valley and Capital Region. IBM stepped up soon after and contributed materials and design expertise, and by mid-April, USHECO Custom Plastic Manufacturing in Rosendale and IBM produced specialized molds and machinery to enable factory production of thousands of the face shields per day.

The face shields, designed to protect users from contagious airborne particles, have been used at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York City, Yale University Medical Center, Albany Medical Center, HealthAlliance Hospital in Kingston and Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, to name a few.

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro partnered with Ryan to support the factory production of the face shields enabling both counties to distribute them to health care workers, first responders, community groups and various facilities.

“We thank the Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center at SUNY New Paltz for producing a record number of face shields and sharing its designs, making these vital protections more accessible to those who need them,” said Molinaro. “Dutchess County is proud to have partnered with Ulster County to purchase thousands of face shields from fabricators in the region, including SUNY New Paltz, supporting perhaps one of the largest productions of personal protective equipment in the state, if not the nation. Dutchess County has already distributed 11,000 face shields to front-line workers who are battling coronavirus and saving lives each day.”