PRESS RELEASE: InkSmith Founder Launches The Canadian Shield to Address Critical Shortage of Medical Equipment
CANADIAN SHIELD WILL PROVIDE REUSABLE FACE SHIELDS TO HEALTHCARE WORKERS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA
KITCHENER, ON |APRIL 6, 2020 - As frontline healthcare workers contend with a shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Kitchener-based InkSmith, an educational technology manufacturer, has launched a new company dedicated to the production and distribution of face shields. Called The Canadian Shield, the company has the capacity to produce 50,000 face shields per day, which will be instrumental in protecting healthcare workers combatting COVID-19 across North America.
“Over the past few weeks, we have been extremely concerned about the critical shortage of medical equipment that our frontline healthcare workers are facing during this unprecedented global pandemic,” said Jeremy Hedges, Founder and CEO of InkSmith and The Canadian Shield. “Using InkSmith’s existing tools and infrastructure, we realized we were in a position to help.”
With a 10,000 square foot facility in Kitchener fully equipped with state-of-the-art 3D printing and laser-cutting technology, the team shifted its efforts from educational technology to protective face shields. The first iteration, called the Community Shield, is a 3D printed version designed by Czech Republic firm Prusa3D. It included a 3D-printed headband and reinforcement piece, clear protective face shield and an adjustable head strap.
In order to mass produce these shields to meet the current demand for PPE, the company switched to its own laser-cut design - the Canadian Shield - eliminating the need for 3D-printed parts, which are time consuming to produce. These laser-cut shields can be washed and sanitized, reducing the overall cost on the healthcare system.
Approved by Health Canada in March, The Canadian Shield has already started to deploy their face shields to hospitals across Ontario, including Joseph Brant Hospital, Grand River Hospital, Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Queensway Carleton Hospital. Once the company is able to supply enough shields to meet the needs of Ontario healthcare workers, the focus will be on accelerating its efforts to address the critical shortage of medical equipment across the country.
Healthcare workers in the United States are also struggling to keep up with the rapidly escalating cases of COVID-19. The Canadian Shield plans to distribute its face shields to hospitals south of the border once it receives approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
“As the COVID-19 caseload surges in the United States, we are in a position to help by offering life-saving solutions to those in need,” said Hedges. “We are all in this together and with collective community involvement and support from both the private and public sectors, we will emerge from this healthcare crisis even stronger than before.”
In order to keep up with the growing demand, The Canadian Shield has hired 60 workers, all of which were recently laid off as a result of the financial impacts of COVID-19. The company plans to hire hundreds of additional workers in the next few weeks.
“This is more than just a short-lived enterprise to combat the spread of COVID-19. We are making a long-term commitment to bringing Canadian manufacturing back to the Kitchener-Waterloo region and our hope is that we can help as many people as we can along the way,” said Hedges.
The Canadian Shield is in the process of opening a second manufacturing facility and will be exploring opportunities for global distribution. For more information on The Canadian Shield, please visit www.canadianshield.ca.
ABOUT THE CANADIAN SHIELD
The Canadian Shield is a Kitchener-based advanced manufacturing company that specializes in the production and distribution of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers. The company was founded in the midst of the COVID-19 global health pandemic by educational technology company InkSmith to address the shortage of protective gear for frontline staff in hospitals and medical facilities. Specializing in reusable protective face masks, The Canadian Shield’s patent-pending technology can significantly reduce healthcare costs while saving lives.
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