COVID-19 protection equipment made with 3D printing is taking over the traditional method. The pandemic has already done damage to many industries and the lives of people globally. However, the 3D industry seems to be unstoppable by offering something new to people. Covid-19 has also created sanitary challenges like never before. During this situation, where there is no sign of vaccine, use of mask and protective gear is the best way to stop the spread of the virus.
At the beginning of this pandemic, there was an absolute lack of protective materials in Europe. The company quickly designed and produced equipment to keep healthcare professional safe from being affected. Many industries turned towards 3D printing for creating quick and regular manufacturing of protective items.
Additive manufacturing or the 3D printing has proved to be valuable to meet the ever-increasing demand for masks and other protective gear.
This is why, group of experts have come together to establish CAR3D, the COVID-19 Rapid Response Innovation Project. The group will work in designing, developing and validating reusable masks complied with EU specifications.
The protective gear is designed keeping the EU standards in mind. Not all the protective gears made under CAR3D will be having the proprietary patent, and the digital design of the same will be shared. This will help local 3D product manufacturing companies start working on it and produce a similar product on a larger scale.
The range of 3D printed products will be reusable masks, face shields and other protective gear.
The main aim of this project is to reduce the pressure of the procurement of PPE by ensuring high demand for supply and meets EU guidelines. Moreover, more production of 3D printed CAR3D protective gears will reduce the dependency on overseas suppliers, and giving more business to European health product manufacturers.
By involving 3D printing manufacturing suppliers’ means, current demand can be met without scaling up the new dedicated industry and establishing a network of suppliers.
3D Printed Protective gears on the rise
Europe is not the only nation to come up with 3D printed protective gear, but the US in April came out with such gears. During April, Coronavirus was about to hit the US with the highest peak. The US Air Force Staff started working on innovative solutions for manufacturing 3D Printed face shields and facemasks.
The cadre has four 3D printers in operation, and each working on making headbands for two shields over 2 hour period. Face shields are based on the template made using Czech 3D printing hobbyist Josef Prusa.
The cadre first decided to make N95 masks through 3D prints, but they would need additional testing and meet filtration standards stated by the US Food and Drug Administration.
However, in manufacturing face shields, there were few challenges cadre faced.
Firstly, the lab found that it is difficult to cut out clear, plastic face coverings to match up with the speed at which headbands are made.
Secondly, all printers used by the lab made object by heating up the plastic filament.
Estrada, one of the cadre said, “Getting that material to us can be a challenge, especially with how much we’re having to print, both in the iterative process of trying to redesign something that’s exactly what the medical group wants, in addition to having to mass produce to the standard that we need.”
It was reported that there are nine Navy and Marine Corps is working on 3D printing face shields to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency.