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UMS in face protector venture
Published on: Sunday, April 12, 2020
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Dr Choong showing the UMS Covi-Pro for frontliners in combating the spread of Covid-19.
Kota Kinabalu: The ongoing issue of Covid-19 pandemic in Sabah has led to high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in the frontline, especially for medical personnel.

Various quarters have come forward to help meet this need by producing the PPE such as face protection, protective clothing, cleaning fluids, and so on.

This include a group of researchers from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) that joined an online community known as KKCoder and a Kota Kinabalu ICT programmer and developer association to produce face protectors for the use of frontline personnel.

According to a statement by UMS Centre For Strategic Management & Corporate Communication, the project is coordinated by Dr Chong Wai Hen from the Engineering Faculty (FKJ) and assisted by Innovation and Research Management Centre (PPPI) as well as lecturers, staff, researchers and students from FKJ and Faculty of Science and Natural Resources (FSSA). 

The face protector, which is being produced, is named as UMS COVI-Pro created using a three-dimensional (3D) printing method.

“Basic computer-generated objects (virtual solid - STL files) are shared by KKCoder with a printing process involving three 3D printing machines (3D Creality CR-10s) that are at CAD Studio, FKJ UMS Building.

“The UMS COVI-Pro is produced using polylactic acid polymer or better known as PLA filament material, with the printing of a face protection unit lasting less than 30 minutes,” the statement said while adding that the production of the protectors has started since March 27, and operates 24 hours a day.

“The virtual base model was also modified from a single model to a 10-unit model that took seven hours to print and was upgraded to a 15-unit model with a printing time of 10 hours,” said in the statement.

This modification has increased the safety of the operator or operator by reducing the time period for the operator to be in the printing room.

This is because during the process of disinfection of PLA printing filaments, harmful fumes are released due to chemical reactions, and prolonged exposure to harmful fumes can have detrimental effects on the health of the operator.

“Another printing strategy is to install video cameras online, because through it, the printing process can be monitored through online applications via mobile phones and computers,” said in the statement.

To date, over 250 face protection units have been produced, most of which have been distributed to frontline personnel such as the State Department of Health (JKNS), UMS Citizens Treatment Center (PRW), police officers, UMS security division officers, and UMS cleaning contractors, and the printing process will continue for a period of time until the supply of personal protective equipment is sufficient.


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