By Mike Crismundo
BUTUAN CITY – The Fabric Laboratory (FabLab) in the Caraga region has started producing protective gears in a prompt response to the reported shortage in protective equipment for health workers and frontliners against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
FabLab Caraga is one of the Shared Service Facility (SSF) projects of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Northeastern Mindanao or Caraga region based here.
FabLab Caraga is also a space for innovation by providing coaching, mentoring, and access to digital fabrication tools.
They started producing face shields to be donated to the different line agencies in the region.
“This initiative is a collaborative effort of the FabLab community in the entire country as a means of support to the real heroes of this crisis, our frontliners,” also said Engr. Isagani Roma, regional manager of FabLab Caraga.
As of Friday, the laboratory has already produced a total of 220 protective gears using three dimensional (3D) printing and aims to reach the production rate of 200 every day as they shift their production by utilizing a laser cutting machine.
Initially, the laboratory has already provided face shields for the Philippine Medical Association, local government unit of Butuan City, DTI, Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Caraga State University (CSU).
Roma said that they would willingly accept written requests from various agencies and organizations as well as financial and material donations.
“The laboratory is self-sustaining so we call for donations so we can replenish our materials and produce more,” Roma added.
According to DTI Regional Director Brielgo O. Pagaran, DTI Caraga has already donated acrylic sheets, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheets, and industrial glue that are needed for the production of the face shields.
Through CSU, the laboratory seeks to develop pool of designers to assist micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in product design and development.
In 2017, DTI Caraga provided assistance worth P12 million for the purchase of two units of 3D printers, laser cutter and engraver, wood milling machine, computer numerical control (CMC) machine for metal crafts, and large format printers.
Nationwide, SSF is a project of DTI that targets to give MSMEs access to better technology and sophisticated equipment to become more competitive in the field, Jorge P. Silaga, Chief of Staff and Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist of DTI 13 also said.