Local truck manufacturer using 3D printer to produce PPE
Monday, April 20, 2020
MOUNT VERNON – Since March, Mount Vernon manufacturer PACCAR Technical Center has been 3D printing face shields and donating them to Skagitonians on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The truck manufacturer, which employs over 400, has so far donated 200 face shields. Recipients include Skagit and Whatcom emergency operations, Island Hospital, and PeaceHealth United General.
To manufacture the face shields, PACCAR Technical Center staff use their in-house 3D printers to print face shield frames before attaching the plastic sheet material, said General Manager Dr. Phil Stephenson.
He said the 3D printers aren't the fastest or most efficient way to produce face shields, but that staff will continue producing the personal protective equipment until other local manufacturers and groups ramp up capacity.
“We will keep doing it until it makes sense to stop,” Stephenson said. “We are happy to do our part to provide PPE to our community.”
PACCAR Technical Center is still operating as an essential business in the transportation industry. Many staff are able to work from home while others are still working on site with significant social distancing and safety measures in place, Stephenson said.
“Our staff is fully engaged,” Stephenson said. “Right now there is clearly a strong demand for transportation by truck as more and more people are shopping online and more materials are being moved around.”
Looking ahead, Stephenson said the PACCAR Technical Center is investigating potential partners and ways in which it can transition into higher volume production if the demand exists.
The PACCAR Technical Center is also supporting the community in other ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, most recently through a $50,000 donation by the PACCAR Foundation to the Skagit Community Foundation’s Skagit Valley Disaster Relief Fund.
“The contribution reflects how important the community is to the staff that work here,” Stephenson said.
Distributions from the relief fund will focus on supporting 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that directly support vulnerable populations and critical human needs impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Skagit County.