Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes, and if you happen to be a purveyor of beverages trying to do business in the midst of a pandemic, here’s how that plays out: A face shield specifically designed for eating and drinking.
Suntory Group, a beverage industry giant that is home to several Japanese whiskies as well as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark and an array of non-alcoholic libations, teamed up with Toppan Printing to develop a face shield with a moving part over the mouth. They have made the design file freely available on the internet, so that anyone with a 3D printer and suitable materials — ABS, POM, PET, and stainless steel for the screws — can produce the face shield for personal use.
Toppan notes that the face shields have been developed based on research findings from Riken’s Fugaku supercomputer, which is scheduled to begin full operation in fiscal 2021. Toppan and Suntory leveraged scientific insights provided by Riken’s research on prediction and countermeasures for virus droplet infection in indoor environments to devise the face shield’s unique bowl-shaped design. It is worn like a pair of glasses, and the part covering the mouth can be opened and closed with a simple action when eating or drinking.
“Our brands have grown into what they are today thanks to the food service industry. Together with restaurants and bars, Suntory has contributed to cultivating the food and beverage culture in Japan and we have been considering how we can best support this industry, which is one of the most heavily impacted by the pandemic,” said Kenji Yamada, CEO of Suntory Liquors.
“We are very pleased to be making the face shield design available for anybody in the world to use. This adds to a range of activities by Toppan to provide solutions to challenges the coronavirus pandemic has presented, and we hope to contribute to wider society and help revitalize the food service industry,” said Makoto Arai, Director and Senior Managing Executive Officer of Toppan’s Information and Communication Division.
The design data can be downloaded from https://toppan-faceshield.jp/en/index.html.
Not a maker? Starting Dec. 21, you can pre-order finished face shields for purchase from the Inshokuten-youhin.jp website operated by Suntory Marketing and Commerce Ltd. They will ship beginning on Jan. 7, 2021. Please note, however, that quantities are limited and the website is in Japanese.