Exploration of alternative supply chains and distributed manufacturing in response to COVID-19; a case study of medical face shields

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Quarantine conditions arising as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have had a significant impact on global production-rates and supply chains. This has coincided with increased demands for medical and personal protective equipment such as face shields. Shortages have been particularly prevalent in western countries which typically rely upon global supply chains to obtain these types of device from low-cost economies. National calls for the repurposing of domestic mass-production facilities have the potential to meet medical requirements in coming weeks, however the immediate demand associated with the virus has led to the mobilisation of a diverse distributed workforce. Selection of appropriate manufacturing processes and underused supply chains is paramount to the success of these operations. A simplified medical face shield design is presented which repurposes an assortment of existing alternative supply chains. The device is easy to produce with minimal equipment and training. It is hoped that the methodology and approach presented is of use to the wider community at this critical time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108749
JournalMaterials & Design
Early online date25 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • COVID-19
  • Distributed manufacturing
  • Medical face shields
  • Micro-supply chains
  • Repurposed manufacture
  • Simplified design

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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