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Additive manufacturing, emerging hero in crisis situations

Additive Manufacturing – A new vital tool in the fight to save lives. Additive manufacturing technologies have rapidly become a vital tool in assisting in response to the current COVID19 virus crisis. Fraunhofer Project Center at the University of Twente, East Neherlands, supports Industry in application-oriented system solutions.

Think you can help?

If you are reading this, have additive manufacturing capabilities and are wondering what you can do to help, please consider the following. Reach out to your local University, industry group, industry professional body or government manufacturing body. 

Many governments around the world are now calling on businesses with manufacturing capability to help alleviate unprecedented demand of various types of basic PPE and medical equipment supply. Some of the most basic supplies such as mask clips and face shields are what is most in need and can be manufactured using common 3D printers. The Fraunhofer Project Center at The University of Twente has recently become involved with the #GiveABreath challenge to create a low-cost, easily constructed and freely available ventilator design using Additive Manufacturing. 

If you would like to know more or think you can work with us on something related, please get in touch with us or learn more about design #Right2Breathe HERE


Industry expert view

April 14, 2020 | by Prof. Ian Gibson

Many countries around the world are seeing their healthcare systems completely overwhelmed, with nurses and doctors being called out of retirement to care for patients and test huge populations for the novel virus. Due to the overwhelming medical response required, many areas are beginning to see serious shortages of vital medical equipment for patients and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare staff. It is becoming evident that relying on international supply in a time of global crisis presents serious issues. Mainly due to the reason that manufacturers of equipment and protective gear, who are already struggling to meet demand are been ordered to keep stock for domestic internal use, limiting stocks that can be exported.

However in many regions additive manufacturing at the smallest of scales has become an unexpected solution to mass supply shortages, in what is increasingly becoming a wartime like effort.

Online 3D printing communities, such as social media groups on Facebook have rallied together to help with the supply of medical equipment. Through 3D file sharing databases such as Thingiverse and GrabCAD, designers and owners of 3D printers are collaborating to rapidly design and manufacture equipment, to be donated to hospitals and healthcare workers.

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