It's no secret our nation is struggling with a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) since the coronavirus crisis. One local business is working hard with the resources they have to help tackle the shortage.

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Vladimir Omelko is the owner and founder of Omelko Research, a company based in Utica that does research and development of 3D printers. They design prototypes of different products for different companies.

The production of the face shields started Friday the 27th and the company is working around the clock to produce as many as possible. We found a design that not only optimizes production time and the cost to make, but additionally is very comfortable to wear and allows for free airflow which is very important especially when wearing protection devices such as these for a long period of time.

Omelko says the company saw a great need for personal protection equipment and wanted to help. They put their 3D printers to use to manufacture as many as possible.

We truly believe that with everyone coming together, we could help not only our local community but everyone surrounding us as well.

They are looking for support to make more mask readily available for use. They started a GoFundMe for production costs, and are hoping to get some more contributions from our community to continue making the masks. Omelko says with a few low cost parts that were readily available, the material costs came in around $3. 

The company intends on distributing the first batch of masks to healthcare workers at St. Luke's and to Utica City Hall, for distribution among the local police force and fire departments. They have plans to ship the masks to Connecticut to help out local law enforcement and healthcare professionals.