Two Omani brothers have repurposed their small 3D printing workshop in Muscat into a veritable production powerhouse for COVID-19 protective wear, which is currently churning out hundreds of face shields for healthcare workers on the frontline of the Sultanate’s drive against the pandemic.
Moosa Said al Amri and his brother Salah, both cofounders of the 3D Factory based in the Wilayat of Bausher, have amassed on order-book of 8,000 face shields to be delivered to the Ministry of Health, and a host of other public and private sector healthcare institutions.
Three years ago, the siblings set up the 3D Factory (@3D_Facto) as a small and medium enterprise with a focus on mechatronics and robotics. But the onset of the pandemic, and the desperate scramble for protective equipment locally and globally, prompted them to rethink their business approach.
“As we had the requisite knowledge, expertise and tools for 3D printing, we decided to focus on the production of protective devices, face shields in particular, to support the requirements of Oman’s first responders at a time when supplies were scarce within Oman and internationally as well,” said Moosa.
“Our facility is now a full-fledged ‘3D printing farm’ with more than 25 3D printers producing as many as 380 face shields per day, which will be ramped up to around 450 items from next week.”
3D Factory’s face shields are made up of clear PET sheets with plastic attachments to secure them around the foreheads of healthcare workers. “Our latest product is the result of more than 20 design improvements proposed by the Ministry of Health and other experts to ensure they are superior, easy to use, and effective in preventing exposure to the virus. Furthermore, unlike most imported versions which are for single-use only, our face shields can be sterilised and used repeatedly, thereby saving on cost and limiting waste.”
Going forward, Moosa anticipates a three-fold increase in orders from medical institutions seeking to secure their employees from possible exposure to the virus. “We are receiving orders for face shields not only from Ministry institutions, but also from private hospitals, clinics and dental service providers as well. We are now focused on meeting Oman’s need for face shields, but see to potential to also supply to markets across the GCC,” he said.