Coronavirus: Mumbai startup Boson Machines’s face shields are coming to the rescue of healthcare workers
While India continues to observe the coronavirus lockdown, healthcare providers do not have the luxury to afford social distancing. Putting their health at risk, numerous doctors, nurses, orderlies, diagnostics crew, administrative staff, and clinic assistants, among others, are leading the charge against COVID-19. An increased number of coronavirus cases has not only put pressure on medical infrastructure but also on healthcare providers who are working hard to take care of affected patients.
In a bid to aid the government’s efforts to check the spread of novel coronavirus, Arjun and Parth Panchal, co-founders of 3D printer manufacturer Boson Machines, are providing healthcare professionals face shields to keep them safe from contracting the infection from patients.
Founded in 2017, Mumbai-based Boson Machines is now using its 3D printing technology to manufacture protective face shields for healthcare personnel. With the help of Dr Swapneil Parikh, Boson Machines connected with experts and doctors who helped in curating and designing the product.
Speaking with, Arjun says that the current capacity of the manufacturing startup is 500-800 shields per day, but can scale it to 4,000 pieces in full capacity. However, this too is not enough to meet the current demand.
“There are 20,000 face shields being used by doctors across India. The total requirement for the shields is more than four lakh in Maharashtra alone,” he notes.
Not business as usual
The startup had to change status quo and rise to the occasion to help meet the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has brought. To provide for the increased demand for face shields, not only the founders and employees, but also their family members chipped in to ramp up production.
The shields are priced at Rs 150 a piece but Arjun hopes to provide them for free to government hospitals. “We have kept the standard rate across the country. For all private hospitals, we are giving it out at Rs 150 per piece while for government hospitals, we are trying to cater to them for free but we are in need of a lot of funds,” he adds.
Currently, the masks are being used only once to avoid risk. Extra plastic sheets for the mask can be bought along with the helmet. Once doctors use the mask, they will need to throw it after completing the treatment and replace it with a new one.
Though the startup has been facing huge demand for protective gears across the country, it is facing problems in delivering the products due to logistical skirmishes amid lockdown. In order to ensure availability, Arjun himself has delivered the shields to local hospitals in Mumbai.
“We have orders from Jammu and Kashmir right now and 1,800 pieces need to be shipped. However, the lack of logistics is a problem. We have been approached by two courier services, Delhivery and DTDC, for helping us ship the products,” Arjun says.
As more number of coronavirus cases are being reported across the country with increased testing, improving medical facilities for the healthcare workers is the need of the hour. While the Indian government is doing its bit to control the pandemic and provide financial relief through the PM CARES fund, startups and entrepreneurs are not backing down from ramping up their innovations to fight the situation.
Amid the global health crisis, it is heartening to see Indian startups are doing their bit to find possible solutions to address the situation.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)