After producing millions of shields for the healthcare industry, ZVerse is introducing a new generation of protective face shields for workers in service industries, including restaurants, retailers, salons, grocery stores, food plants and the elective medical sector. The futuristic shields serve as a deterrent to COVID-19 and a more functional alternative to cloth face masks.
Made in the U.S. with a patent pending, the protective shield called ZShield Flex utilizes an adjustable neck-mount instead of mounting to the head – a design innovation that makes the shield unlike anything that currently exists on the market. ZShield Flex shields are available for pre-order now at zverse.com/our-products/. First shipments will go out on June 15. While the shields are specially designed for the service industry, they are available to the general public, too.
In a study conducted by the University of Iowa and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, face shields may replace masks as a more comfortable and effective deterrent to COVID-19. The study showed face shields reduce immediate viral exposure by 96% when worn by an individual within 18 inches of a cough. When the study was repeated at 6 feet apart, face shields reduced inhaled virus by 92%.
Benefits of the ZShield Flex shields include:
- The unique neck mount allows the shield to come from underneath rather than the top of the head. This is more comfortable than wearing something around the head/face, which can cause skin irritation and conflict with hairstyles and facial hair. One user described it as similar to wearing a necklace.
- ZShield Flex is easy to adjust without touching the face, which is one of the top ways COVID-19 is spread. The thin, clear visor can ratchet into a multitude of positions so the user can quickly adjust the angle desirable to accomplish tasks like talking on the phone.
- The visor protects the face, mouth and eyes from respiratory droplets that become airborne when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- ZShield Flex creates an effective barrier between the user’s face and the faces of customers, as well as food being prepared, groceries being bagged, hair being cut, teeth being cleaned and a multitude of other services that require close contact.
- The visor easily disassembles from the adjustable neck mount, permitting easy cleaning and reuse.
- ZShield Flex allows for easy breathing, while cloth masks can cause feelings of claustrophobia and anxiety – this is especially problematic for those with asthma.
- Shield users can clearly communicate verbally and nonverbally, while masks create muffled communication and block important facial expressions like smiles. This is especially significant for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
- ZShield Flex visors are made of anti-fog materials.
- There is an opportunity to brand the front of the “Y” bracket with a company logo or campaign messaging.
“The demand for facial protection is rapidly rising as we move toward reopening the country,” ZVerse CEO John Carrington says. “In addition to shielding front-line critical care workers, we are facing a tsunami of requests coming from dentists, restaurant owners, food plant workers and hair stylists, among others. Our new shields are designed to not only protect users but also make people feel comfortable as they begin to venture out of their homes. Restaurants and public gathering places are not meant to feel like hospitals. This new shield offers a solution that allows workers to breathe easily and clearly communicate while protecting themselves and customers.”
The shields are currently being used on a trial basis in restaurants, salons and fitness studios, including at select locations of The Nail Barre and barre3.
“I have found that the ZShield Flex shields allow for a much more welcoming environment that is far more ‘normal’ for our clients,” adds Lauren Truslow, owner of multiple The Nail Barre salons and barre3 fitness studios in Columbia, South Carolina. “Our clients want to see our faces while we interact. The ZShield Flex is a user-friendly, customer-friendly and business-friendly solution because it allows us to operate our businesses safely and in a way that is comfortable for both our employees and customers.”
ZShield Flex designer Scott Henderson, an industrial designer with a long history of designing best-selling consumer products, describes the latest model as a friendlier, “New Normal” solution that caters to service industry workers as well as everyday people who are looking for a safe alternative to face masks. Henderson is an experienced inventor as evidenced by his portfolio of over 50 patents in the U.S. and Europe for novel innovations. Over 90% of his projects have been mass-produced, a track record few designers can claim.
“The ZShield Flex is a true industrial design innovation that will disrupt the current landscape of PPE available to the public,” Henderson says. “The human head is a very complex set of geometric parameters that are difficult to deal with when it comes to designing wearable products. We have bypassed these complexities completely by thinking differently with the come-from-the-bottom neck mount. This an unprecedented design idea for face shields – a new shield for a new normal.”
Carrington adds, “In 1918 during the Spanish Flu, people walked around in face masks just as they do now; it’s time for something better. We are eager to introduce this new shield to the market and continue doing our part in helping the country reduce the spread of COVID-19 as America re-opens.”
Becoming one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of face shields
On March 23, ZVerse launched its reusable face shields designed for high-risk environments like hospitals and testing sites. It has since received purchase orders for 11+ million shields, with customers that include Prisma Health, The Veterans Health Administration, Concourse Federal Group, the State of South Carolina, Kaiser Permanente, South Carolina Department of Corrections and Roper St. Francis Healthcare. In a matter of days, the digital manufacturing technology company transformed its business model, which previously focused on 3D printing software, to address the urgent need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Today, the South Carolina-based, technology company is one of the largest manufacturers of reusable face shields in the country, utilizing its domestic supply chain and an injection mold manufacturing process that allows for mass production at faster speeds than 3D printing. The company aims to deliver 20 million face shields by July. ZVerse is currently producing 115,000 reusable face shields per day at prices that are comparable to the disposable face shields from China.