Alliant Energy partners with Iowa State to create face shields for hospitals

Alliant Energy funds 3D printing completed by students, plans to distribute face shields to Iowa hospitals

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – April 2, 2020 – Alliant Energy (NASDAQ: LNT) is partnering with a team of Iowa State University students to manufacture and distribute face shields to medical professionals at hospitals in Iowa.

Hospitals need more personal protective equipment due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This collaborative effort will provide shields for hospital staff to use, helping to save lives while preventing the spread of the virus. This support is part of Alliant Energy’s continued commitment to assisting the communities they serve.

The face shields are being printed on 3D printers at Iowa State University’s Computation and Construction Lab (CCL) within the College of Design.

Alliant Energy is funding the 3D printing and donating the supplies to Iowa State. The company will also be distributing the face shields to hospitals across Iowa. The team hopes to manufacture up to 2,000 shields.

“Alliant Energy is committed to serving and helping our customers and communities,” said Linda Mattes, Vice President of Customer and IT Operations at Alliant Energy. “We’re proud to partner with Iowa State University during this health crisis to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.”

Two Alliant Energy employees were inspired by Gov. Kim Reynolds’ comments during a recent press conference on the use of 3D printers. They reached out to Iowa State University, and the opportunity to empower architecture students to innovatively create protective face shields for use in local hospitals arose. 

Shelby Doyle, assistant professor of architecture and co-founder of Iowa State’s Computation and Construction Lab, is leading the effort of eight Iowa State students to manufacture the shields. According to a news release issued by Iowa State University, the students work in rotating shifts in a ‘socially distanced’ assembly line to put the parts of the shields together. It takes two to three hours to print the parts for each face shield.

“The student employees are making the best of a really challenging moment where a lot of us feel really helpless as we watch this pandemic unfurl,” Doyle said. “Fabricating face shields is a small way for us to engage that’s within our capabilities.”

Thirty 3D printers are being used to create parts for the face shields. The students are 3D printing the top and bottom segments of the shields while adding a clear plastic cover and elastic band to secure around a person’s head. 

Each student wears gloves and continuously disinfects the work area and materials. Upon completion, the shields are disinfected again before being placed in sealed containers. 

In addition to funding the face shield project, Alliant Energy has recently donated over 800 N95 masks to medical facilities and organizations in Iowa.

Alliant Energy will continue to monitor new information and evaluate community needs during the health crisis. Visit Alliant Energy’s COVID-19 resource page for more information.