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Corona Crisis - How The 3D Printing Industry Helps

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Corona Crisis - How The 3D Printing Industry Helps
Corona Crisis - How The 3D Printing Industry Helps

Video: Corona Crisis - How The 3D Printing Industry Helps

Video: Corona Crisis - How The 3D Printing Industry Helps
Video: How 3D printing is spurring revolutionary advances in manufacturing and design 2023, December

In view of the corona pandemic and the growing scarcity of medical equipment, the European Commission has called on 3D printing companies and institutions to help with their knowledge and production capacities. We present some projects from industry and research and show how other companies can participate.

Emergency respirators are made from snorkel masks

Especially in Italy, the situation is tense and hospitals need every support - among other things, ventilation masks for patients are essential. This is how the Italian company Isinnova came up with the idea of constructing an emergency respiratory mask from decathlon snorkel masks.

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The manufacturer of the “Easybreath” snorkel mask is Decathlon, who immediately provided their CAD data for modification on request. A new component was needed to connect the mask to a ventilator - the newly developed Charlotte valve, which can be manufactured using a 3D printer.

The prototype of the mask was successfully tested in Italy on a patient in need. However, the manufacturers expressly emphasize that the mask has no medical certification and can only be used in very emergency situations, such as when it is not possible to obtain official medical equipment.

The companies Isinnova and Fablab Brescia provide the valve free of charge and have it patented to prevent price speculation. Various companies such as the 3D printing service provider Weerg and the on-demand provider Protolabs support the Italian engineers Isinnova and Protezione Civile. Protolabs has manufactured 100 3D-printed valves for the life-saving emergency breathing masks.

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Face mask kit

The manufacturing specialist FIT Additive Manufacturing Group has developed a special filter holder (FiT) that can be combined with almost any filter material to form a makeshift mask. The filter is intended for the general public.

The kit is reusable, disinfectable, dishwasher-safe and consists of two identical plastic baskets, between which any filter material - from a paper handkerchief, cotton towels or antimicrobial covers to professional non-woven material - can be inserted. The filter material should be able to be replaced quickly, since each material loses its effectiveness due to increasing moisture.

The filter holder can now be ordered at cost price. The data record for a 3D printable variant is available for download free of charge.

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Free, 3D printed face shield

3D printer manufacturer Stratasys has launched a union to produce face shield visors using 3D printing. There are now over 150 companies and universities involved. So far, the companies have produced around 5,000 visors free of charge, and the number is expected to increase in the coming days.

Any 3D printing company that wants to help and can print at least 100 visors can fill out an online form to be invited to participate in the initiative. Stratasys has also published the complete printing and assembly instructions for the face shield visor so that everyone can manufacture face shield visors independently.

The company also provided the material licenses for many of its high-end printers that were used to manufacture the visors during this period.

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International platform in the fight against Corona

3D printer manufacturer EOS offers access to relevant data and important files for free download on its open platform. The company also collects projects that are already involved in the fight against Corona. The 3DAgainstCorona website is updated regularly. In doing so, EOS wants to call on other companies to participate by means of 3D printing.

EOS assures that all contributions will first be checked to ensure that they comply with medical standards before they are published.

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3D printed nasal swab

Protective equipment for medical personnel is not only in short supply - there is also a demand for material to test for COVID-19. Among other things, nasal swab sticks are needed, but their supply is very limited.

The 3D printing company Formlabs has produced and tested a 3D printed nasal swab together with the University of South Florida and Northwell Health. All tests showed that the 3D printed nasal swabs provide the same performance and patient comfort as standard smears used for the COVID-19 test.

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Plastic cassettes for tests on Covid-19

Protolabs works with Ausdiagnostics to produce plastic cassettes in the shortest possible time. These are used to keep the critical medical solution for the Covid-19 test. The challenge for Protolabs: to manufacture 500 sample parts using the injection molding process. The first CAD drawings were not suitable for production, so they were optimized and the right material was specified. Production of the parts to be shipped by April 9 has already started.

The tests are intended for diagnostic centers across Europe. Diagnostics produces almost 200 test sets a day; Injection molding by Protolabs can produce 20,000 cartridges per quarter to meet increasing demand.

The basis is the digital end-to-end manufacturing process from Protolabs. This ordering process is based on an e-commerce platform and does not require direct human contact. The manufacturing process works digitally, even if a few employees are needed here. Thanks to digitization, however, significantly fewer human interventions are necessary than with any other type of production.

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Photo gallery with 23 pictures

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