PSCC manufactures critical equipment amid pandemic

Lesli Bales-SherrodOur Town Health, Our Town Teens

Pellissippi State Community College is one of several Tennessee colleges using 3D printers to manufacture personal protective equipment that will help health care professionals caring for coronavirus patients.


The project, announced March 23 by Gov. Bill Lee, has been underway since March 21. By Monday afternoon, the colleges had cranked out more than 1,500 pieces of equipment including 838 headbands like the ones Pellissippi State is producing to attach to face shields.

Health care professionals wear plastic face shields over their masks as further protection from infectious diseases while working with patients.

“We are pleased to be a part of supporting efforts to combat this virus in our community and across the state,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for economic and workforce development for Pellissippi State.

3D printers at Pellissippi State’s MegaLab are working overtime to manufacture personal protective equipment for health care professionals.

“Our ability to assist in this project is evidence of our efforts to always be on the cutting edge of technology taught in our classrooms. This also is a perfect utilization of campus resources that would otherwise lie dormant during this period.”

While Pellissippi State has closed its five campuses in Knox and Blount counties amid Knox County’s Safer at Home Order issued Monday, essential personnel continue to report to the MegaLab at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus to keep the 3D printers working around the clock. The MegaLab, its entrance and its nearby restrooms are on a daily cleaning schedule to ensure the space remains disinfected while essential personnel are working there.

MegaLab Director Andy Polnicki has been hard at work preparing the first shipment of 239 headbands to send to Austin Peay State University, the college that developed the prototype. Austin Peay employees will attach the headbands to transparent plastic face shields for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, which will distribute them to health care facilities and professionals who are facing shortages of equipment.

This is one of the projects the governor is spearheading to find new and innovative ways to serve Tennesseans during the COVID-19 crisis. To keep up with the latest news about coronavirus response at Pellissippi State, visit our website here.

Lesli Bales-Sherrod does marketing and writing for Pellissippi State Community College.

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