From a July 23, 2020, Snohomish County press release.
Today, Edmonds College and Snohomish County announced their partnership to produce locally sourced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Edmonds College produced 200 face shields at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Snohomish County’s Paine Field Airport.
Front line workers and first responders across Snohomish County have experienced difficulties procuring consistent supplies of PPE since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The uncertainty of supplies for specific types of PPE has continued as different sectors of the community reactivate and additional cases of COVID-19 emerge.
Availability of PPE has also been impacted by regional demand and variability in international supply chains.
Snohomish County has been leading an effort to connect local production capacity for PPE with end-users. The sources of this production capacity range from privately-owned 3D printers and sewing machines to privately-operated businesses with equipment and personnel that could be retooled for PPE (design, 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser cutting, water jet cutting, computer numerical control, workspaces, welding, tools, etc.).
The Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, which is owned and managed by Edmonds College, has state of the art equipment designed for training aerospace manufacturing workers that has been re-purposed to produce face shields based on two innovative designs.
The center manufactured two types of shields for the county, including one, the ED19 Durable Face Shield, which was designed and developed by the college’s makerspace team.
“This budding partnership proves the concept of being able to increase Snohomish County’s resiliency in the face of uncertain emergencies in the future by encouraging a local supply chain of distributed manufacturing,” said Jason Biermann, Director of Snohomish County’s Department of Emergency Management. "We are proud to work with Edmonds College and lucky to have such talented and passionate facilitators at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center who jumped at this opportunity.”
“We’re proud to partner with Snohomish County to help meet the needs of our local health care providers and community during this time,” said Edmonds College President Dr. Amit Singh. “Strong, long-term partnerships such as this will be key to overcoming the pandemic and continuing to grow and build a bright future for our community.”
Snohomish County will continue to support innovative efforts to provide medical-grade PPE for local health care workers and first responders.
Water jet cutting machine. Photo courtesy of Snohomish County.