As the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping across the U.S. this past spring, people with different skill sets at Salt Lake Community College started brainstorming how they could use their talents and the school’s resources to make a key component of keeping people safe – masks.
The result – thousands of masks are being delivered to places across Utah where they are needed most, thanks to a small army of employees and volunteers at SLCC’s Westpointe Workforce Training and Education Center and the Fashion Institute at its Library Square Campus.
“As we look forward to opening the campus this summer, we will all need to be mindful of our role in elevating one of our stated values – community,” says SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin. “As community members, we will be asking you to wear a mask in public areas where social distancing is not easily maintained to help keep everyone safe from the spread of COVID-19. The efforts by our faculty and staff through our Fashion Institute and Injection Molding lab will help us do that as they create masks not just for SLCC employees but for our larger community members as well!”
Peter Reed likes to say that faculty in his department have moved from being advanced manufacturing educators to educators who manufacture. He’s talking about how they’re making masks using injection molding machines at Westpointe.
Three of those machines, worth $150,000 to $200,000 each, were donated by Merit Medical, BD Medical and Japanese Steel Works. The types of products they can churn out vary as widely as the kinds of molds that fit inside the automated machines at Westpointe’s injection molding lab.
The entire lab might be idle in lieu of students during the pandemic that shut down campuses around the country and forced classes to be delivered remotely. But Peter and others devised a way to use the room’s high-tech resources for making durable, reusable masks – thousands of them. Read more……