At the height of New Zealand’s COVID-19 response, Scion joined a group of Rotorua companies pooling their talents to manufacture face shields for Lakes District Health Board (DHB).

In late March 2020, Scion was informed that the DHB was temporarily short of protective face shields for staff working at Rotorua hospital and in the wider community where they could be exposed to the coronavirus.

Working together, Scion and Kilwell Fibretube came up with a design that met the needs of the DHB, which provided clinical input and advice.

The team came up with a design for a modified Prusa face shield, consisting of a 3D printed headband manufactured by Scion and Kilwell, a Perspex shield cut by High Duty Plastics, and an elastic band at the back that was provided courtesy of AJ’s Emporium and the DHB. A total of 215 visors were delivered to the DHB.

Dave Gower-Rudman, DHB Facilities Manager said the visors were modified after infection control recommendations and are now robust, fully re-usable and fit for purpose.

“At the time of receipt there were very few options available for eye protection. Even goggles and safety glasses could not be sourced in sufficient quantities. The receipt of these locally made visors was both well received and excellently timed”, said Dave.

The crisis demonstrated the incredible agility and potential of additive manufacturing, which enabled Scion to provide this valuable service to keep our local community safe.

Using design thinking, the flexibility of additive manufacturing and swift partnering with companies on Scion’s doorstep we were able to solve an urgent and critical problem. The response was a great example of teams working well together, with great communication and feedback.

The staff involved were approved as essential workers and complied with Alert Level 4 restrictions.

All involved agree that this collaboration was highly successful and demonstrated how ingenuity, science, engineering and manufacturing capability can swiftly provide real solutions that benefit our people and New Zealand.


Funders: Scion, Lakes District Health Board
Collaborators: Kilwell Firetube, High Duty Plastics