The news on everyone’s mind these days is the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Its proper name is SARS-CoV-2, which stands for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, and it seems like the whole world is grinding to a halt in its wake. The pandemic is causing many countries, and US states, to enter a state of lock-down or shelter in place, which definitely isn’t making daily life easy. Schools remain closed, major events have been cancelled, and many, many people are getting used to working remotely.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and its partners are working hard to strengthen the supply chains for essential commodities to battle the disease, and – unsurprisingly – the global 3D printing community has admirably risen to the challenge. The technology has been used many times for various disaster response applications, and fighting to slow the spread of COVID-19 is no different.
All around the world, people are 3D printing parts to respond to this health crisis, but it hasn’t been a coordinated effort, so producers didn’t know which locations needed the parts the most. The latest initiative is spearheaded by German startup 3YOURMIND, which provides AM workflow management software. The Berlin-based company stepped in, and has set up a dedicated order management platform to organize the efficient production and distribution of 3D printed supplies and parts to the hospitals and clinics where they’re most needed to fight COVID-19.
“It is important that we do not only print parts that look like medical equipment, but that we produce items that can truly serve needs in the medical community with proper designs, proper materials and sterile production and handling procedures,” said Alexandre Donnadieu, VP of Operations, North America, for 3YOURMIND. ” This is the legwork that we are performing with medical facilities to make sure that we are serving a true need in this crisis.”
The distributed AM order management network for COVID-19 that 3YOURMIND launched is now online, and is already receiving AM requests from the US, Europe, and Latin America. Currently, the focus is on medically validated 3D printed parts that hospitals are running out of, and 3YOURMIND is reaching out to medical clinics and hospitals to see where the need is greatest, and what specifically that need is. Once the demand is confirmed, access to the platform will be given so that production orders can be placed at local facilities.
As part of this new network, 3YOURMIND is making its software available to volunteers, as well as working with larger producers and initiatives so all available production capacity can be linked into one organizational system. The startup’s sales team is calling hospitals, medical facilities and clinics, logistics companies, and suppliers to set up new supply chains, and also reaching out to shipping and insurance companies so that logistics costs can be offset in an effort to limit the rate of infection.
As outreach efforts continue, 3YOURMIND expects to keep up a steady stream of requested COVID-19 3D printing parts in the near future, so it can offer producers a library of 3D file designs. In addition, the company is putting together a digital inventory of items that have already been validated for AM, which can be quickly and easily sent to suppliers at the click of a button. 3YOURMIND is also taking design requests, so its team of 3D modelers can design, or improve upon, important parts, and then add it to the digital inventory of coronavirus items.
The important thing now is to quickly connect the demand to the supply chain, so everyone can get the help they need to weather this crisis through an active response network.
“Now is a time where we can come together and show the power of decentralized production to reshape how the world responds to need,” 3YOURMIND wrote.
You can reach out to [email protected] if you have a design request, want to sponsor this initiative, or work for a logistics company that’s interested in being a partner for the effort.
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