3D Printing Comes To The Rescue Of Doctors Fighting COVID-19 Amid PPE Shortage
To fill the gap of shortage of PPE kits, the 3D printing industry has stepped up to meet the daunting challenge. Spanish doctor wearing a snorkel mask with a 3D printed adapter (Credits - Formlabs Twitter) From Italy to Spain to the US to India, 3D printing firms are supplying healthcare workers with gears and pieces of equipment amid a huge shortage.
(Formlabs is a 3D printing technology developer & manufacturer based out of Somerville, Massachusetts. It was founded in September 2011 by three MIT Media Lab students) 3D printing is a process in which material is structured under computer control to create a three-dimensional object, adding together material (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together) typically layer by layer. 3D printing cuts the production time of PPEs and is cheap to produce due to the low cost of the material required. In Chennai, small 3D printing firms are making face shields for the doctors and medical professionals as a substitute for masks, which have a short lifeline. They are providing the hospitals with two types of face shields, one is disposable and the other can be sanitised and reused. In Italy, the worst affected country in Europe, healthcare professionals converted full-face snorkel masks into a ventilator using 3D printed valves. Italy - Ventilator valves produced with a 3D printer for hospitals In Spain, another European battered by COVID-19, hospitals are adapting snorkel masks with 3D printed adapters for use as PPE. These connectors help to include filters in the entry/exit of the mask to filter the air of both the user and surroundings while covering the whole face. The only problem currently faced by the booming 3D printing industry is that none of their medical products have a quality benchmark and thus cannot be sold in markets or recommended for wider use.
Hospitals are adapting snorkel masks with #3Dprinted adapters for use as PPE. These connectors make it possible to include filters in the entry/exit of the mask to filter the air of both the user and surroundings, while isolating the whole face. https://t.co/AFUX0Mm3b2 pic.twitter.com/KH7kDUykbp— Formlabs (@formlabs) April 9, 2020