Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

SmileDirectClub Will Start Making Face Shields for Doctors and Nurses

By Taylor Carmichael - Mar 27, 2020 at 3:37PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

To help out during the COVID-19 pandemic, the teeth-straightening specialist will devote some of its 3-D printers to making protective gear for medical professionals.

Under normal circumstances, SmileDirectClub (SDC 11.11%)  basically does one thing: It makes and sells customized teeth-straightening aligners directly to the public. But these are not normal  times. With the COVID-19 epidemic growing, the company has begun to use its 3-D manufacturing capacity to produce medical-grade face shields and respiratory face masks for the healthcare workers on the front lines of the crisis -- as many as 7,500 a day. St. Luke's Boise (Idaho) Medical Center will receive the first batch of 1,000 face masks.  

SmileDirectClub is one of the largest 3-D printing based manufacturing operations in the United States -- the flexibility of those devices allows it to create plastic aligners to fit its customers individually. That same quality is allowing it to rapidly shift some of its FDA-certified production facilities to start manufacturing protective gear for healthcare professionals. It was only last week that it made public its plans to do this.

3-D printer

Image source: Getty Images

With hospitals and epidemiologists warning that the U.S. medical system is about to run short of vital medical equipment such as respirators, some automakers are exploring the possibility of using their manufacturing facilities to help fill the nation's needs. Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted: "We will make ventilators if there is a shortage." Other automakers like Ford and General Motors are in discussions with the Trump administration about shifting some of their manufacturing capacity to producing healthcare equipment.

While SmileDirectClub can't manufacture gear as complicated as respirators, items such as face shields (or respirator valves) are entirely within reach for its 3-D printers. 

Shares of SmileDirectClub were up 19% in late afternoon trading on Friday.

 

Taylor Carmichael owns shares of SmileDirectClub, Inc. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Tesla. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

SmileDirectClub, Inc. Stock Quote
SmileDirectClub, Inc.
SDC
$1.30 (11.11%) $0.13

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
373%
 
S&P 500 Returns
122%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 08/11/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.