NORFOLK, Neb. - Schools in the Norfolk area are teaming up with Nucor to produce uniquely created face masks for health care providers.
Two years ago, Nucor and school districts in Madison, Norfolk, Stanton, Battle Creek, and Pierce utilized grant money from the state to purchase 3-D printers. Those printers are now hard at work producing face masks to supply to Faith Regional Health Services in Norfolk.
"When we saw some news articles about other locations using 3-D printing technology to help their local health providers with shortages in PPE, we talked about bringing all of our 3-D printers together in one location to create this lab," Nucor Trainer David Decarolis said. "We reached out to Faith Regional to see if they had a shortage, and they said that we could help them with face mask protection."
Decarolis says the project came together earlier this week, and the printers were all brought together to the Nucor Detailing Center to produce as many masks as possible for Faith Regional.
"Collectively, the five school districts and Nucor have 13 3-D printers, and they're all in this room at the same time," Decarolis said. "The 3-D printed components of each mask takes approximately two hours to fabricate, so if you multiply that by 13, throughout a day we're hoping to produce at least 100."
Word of the collaboration has started to spread across Nebraska, as during his Friday press conference Governor Pete Ricketts highlighted the work being done between the schools and Nucor.
"This is a great example of local people stepping up, meeting the challenge, doing the right thing, and figuring out how to solve problems, this is how we're going to beat this virus," Gov. Ricketts said.
Decarolis says all of the parties involved are committed to doing whatever they can to help get through the COVID-19 pandemic as best as possible.
"When you're in crazy times, you want to do something to help, you're willing to do anything to help," Decarolis said. "All of the players are on-board, and the response has been overwhelming to feel that internal sense of wanting to have a purpose in a crazy time."