Local company develops thousands of face shields amid pandemic

Local company develops thousands of face shields amid pandemic
Ark-La-Tex 3D Technology has donated thousands of face shields to individuals working on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight. (Source: Matthew Hopper)

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - It all started with a simple question: how can we help our community?

Eric Hess, the co-director of Sanctuary Glass Studio in Shreveport, spoke with a local physician about the need for more personal protective equipment, or PPE, specifically face shields.

So, he reached out to Matthew Hopper, the co-owner of Ark-La-Tex 3D Technology, about launching a venture to develop these shields.

“With the city going back to work, I’d imagine most companies would want to protect their employees,” Hess added.

The face shield itself is created through an injection mold and is used to guard the entire face from any sort of contact with particles in the air. For example, if someone sneezes near you, the face should fully protect your eyes, nose and mouth from contamination.

Picture a car’s windshield — but for a human.

“A typical mask might get exposed bodily fluids during the course of interacting with a patient,” Hopper said. “The face shield protects the mask from coming in contact with bodily fluids or any other contaminants.”

Collectively, Ark-La-Tex 3D Technology has donated 6 thousand masks to dozens of nonprofits, agencies and companies across the region.

“The 6 thousand have gone out to about 45 different organizations from police, firemen, all the major hospitals, all the major social service organizations,” Hess highlighted.

Right now, the company has the ability to produce upwards of 5 thousand masks per day. Orders for these face shields aren’t just coming from across the state, but throughout the country, such as Wisconsin, New York and Massachusetts.

“There are still areas of the country that are fighting against the coronavirus,” Hopper said. “We do see reports of areas being without PPE, we have these face shields made right here and can supply them immediately.”

Ark-La-Tex 3D Technology hopes to expand its capacity for making shields and is even considering helping supply other forms of PPE to any organization in need.

If you want to purchase a face shield, click here.

Copyright 2020 KSLA. All rights reserved.