Dernau Maik Rönnefarth will probably remember this year's skiing holiday in Ischgl, Austria, for a long time to come. The carpenter is from Dernau, a wine-growing village not far from Bonn, and he was one of the people who were infected with the corona virus while in Ishgl. Now, shields are being developed to protect against the virus.
For three weeks the resulting illness "preoccupied" him, as he tells the General-Anzeiger. Forced to stay at home, he asked himself “What can we do to help?" The result: when Rönnefarth returned to his carpentry workshop, which actually specializes in furniture, he and his 28 employees started producing a sneeze guard made of plexiglass. It is designed to prevent the virus from spreading at the reception desks of medical practices, pharmacies and the like.
The plexiglass guard is u-shaped and can be placed on counters. There are different options that are easy to set up as well as more elaborate custom-made products. He has also developed a special panel for shop entrance doors. "It looks like a kiosk window," says the carpenter.
But Rönnefarth was quoted in a press release in the Handwerkskammer (Chamber of Trade) saying he didn’t know if the sneeze guard would become a permanent feature in their carpentry shop. At the moment, however, business seems to be going well. According to Rönnefarth, between 80 and 100 protective shields have been sold so far. And not only in the region, but also beyond. In view of the economic crisis brought on by the virus, Rönnefarth had registered for “Kurzarbeit” (reduced work hours) "only as a precaution". There is still a waiting period for the orders so far. He is concerned, however, that the supply chain could collapse.
3D printer used for another form of protection
Rönnefarth is not the only one in the region to use plexiglass to combat the spread of the virus. Holger Kowalewski, chairman of a civic association in Remagen, points out that the company Zaribo in the district of Oedingen produces a face shield made of plexiglass. It is produced there by 3D printers. The masks are primarily intended for some medical personnel and caregivers and for people who expose themselves to increased risk every day in order to help other people. They are also for those who belong to a high risk group. But the masks do not meet the FFP standard for a respiratory protection mask. Two or three printers working simultaneously 24 hours can produce up to 25 masks a day. Due to the limited capacity, companies are the first to be targeted to see if they are interested in the masks. The aim is to avoid "an onslaught of private customers, for whom the masks would then possibly only be left in a cupboard at home". There is no commercial for-profit interest, the sales price only covers the production costs. (Orig. text: Sven Westbrock / Translation: ck)