COVID-19 Engineering Research

From revolutionizing the COVID-19 testing process to producing face shields for frontline workers, there are several initiatives taking place at UWindsor to combat the spread of COVID-19. 

Faculty of Engineering researchers and students have been busy working alongside members of the community and local industry to provide innovative solutions to challenges sweeping the globe.

Below you'll find the latest UWindsor Engineering projects tackling the global pandemic.

Engineering team partners with local manufacturer to combat spread of COVID-19

Face Shields

A local manufacturer has teamed with a group of researchers at UWindsor’s Faculty of Engineering to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Valiant TMS is assisting Dr. Jill Urbanic’s research team with the production of brackets for 3D-printed face shields. The global company headquartered in Windsor has provided material, testing, building and assembly support. 

“We have no specific production targets. We are trying to meet requests and there have been several from a wide variety of front-line personnel,” Dr. Urbanic says. “This need is what is driving us forward.”

So far, shields have been delivered locally to three nursing departments at Windsor Regional Hospital, two nursing homes and an x-ray clinic and up Highway 401 to the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital and St. Joseph's Family Medical and Dental Centre in Toronto. 

The shields are designed to be lightweight and adjustable in size. Urbanic says the designs have been optimized to leverage the most effective manufacturing processes. 

“The top cover and retainer can be laser cut or water jet cut. The materials should allow for reuse. We would like to pursue molding the flexi-band with local mold shops, if they are interested.” 

Student enterprise producing face shield components

Parker Drouillard shows off the face shield parts he has been producing with 3D printers.

Tucked away in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation is a 3D print shop that has been quietly expanding its fleet.

In just a week, Parker Drouillard, the owner of Pep Corporation, has doubled the number of his self-made 3D printers to assist in the global fight against the spread of COVID-19.

“We normally print automotive parts, but our clients, mostly automotive manufacturers, are being asked to retool,” Drouillard says from his shop floor filled with the whirring sound of nearly 30 printers hard at work.

“As a result, quite of a few our partners have reached out to us.”

The fourth-year computer science student has been approached by clients and businesses from Windsor to Toronto that need parts to assemble ventilators and face shields. He’s now preparing for large orders that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to four hours to produce.

Drouillard has also joined forces with community partners WEtech-AllianceEPICentre UWindsor, and Windsor-Essex FIRST to donate 500 face shields to essential workers across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. He is producing the plastic components that hold the face shield in place based on a design created by Kelcom 3D Division.

Engineering team develops products to combat spread of COVID-19

improved face shield design adapts to the shape of the wearer’s forehead
The team’s improved face shield design adapts to the shape of the wearer’s forehead for a snugger fit.

A group of researchers at UWindsor’s Faculty of Engineering has designed face masks, hands-free attachments for door handles, and is making parts for face shields and ventilators to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

Master’s student Alireza Pasha and doctoral candidates Hamed Kalami and Morteza Alebooyeh have been brainstorming with engineering professor Jill Urbanic since the pandemic hit.

“This is our rapid response to the current situation,” Pasha said.

The group first began making brackets for face shields on the 3D printer in Dr. Urbanic’s lab, partnering with Kevin Taylor from Kelcom 3D. The bracket, which wraps around the wearer’s head, is an improvement on the many designs currently available in that it fits snugly to the forehead, better preventing exposure to pathogens.