3D Printing and COVID-19, May 8, 2020 Update: HP, Rolls Royce, SPEE3D, Rize, Dassault & Stratasys


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Companies, organizations and individuals continue to attempt to lend support to the COVID-19 pandemic supply effort. We will be providing regular updates about these initiatives where necessary in an attempt to ensure that the 3D printing community is aware of what is being done, what can be done and what shouldn’t be done to provide coronavirus aid.

HP has provided some interesting details to 3D Printing Media Network, about the extent to which it has been involved in manufacturing medical supplies. It has produced over a million parts for COVID-19 protection with Multi Jet Fusion, including over 200,000 face shields for Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona. To do so, it has partnered with such large companies as Lamborghini, Volkswagen-Seat, Ferrari, Skoda. Among the parts printed is one that connects a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device to an oxygen mask, as well as one that connects to a diving mask, various face masks and parts for the Leitat1 emergency ventilator. For the U.K. alone, HP and its partners have made more than 50,000 face shields, mask adjusters and hands-free door openers.

A door handle printed using SPEE3D’s ACTIVAT3D copper. Image courtesy of SPEE3D.

SPEE3D has begun deploying its antimicrobial ACTIVAT3D copper printed devices, starting with the Northern Territory Department of Trade, Business and Innovation which is replacing door handles with ACTIVAT3D copper handles. According to SPEE3D and its testing partner, these copper parts are able to kill 96% of SARS-CoV-2 virus within two hours of contact, compared to stainless steel which had no impact.

RIZE is also producing face shields for workers at Cardiovascular Medicine, PC, in Davenport IA and Moline IL, emphasizing the US Pharmacopeia Class VI certification its RIZIUM ONE filament has achieved. This is considered the highest level of biocompatibility, such that it has no adverse impact on the wearer’s skin after long periods of use. The company also claims that this material does not trap moisture that can contain the virus, like other common 3D printing plastics, such as ABS and nylon.

An Duong, a Rolls-Royce worker making face shields in the U.K. covered in a previous update, is now asking for help. Having donated over 700 masks to National Health Services staff, Duong is hoping for donated filaments and funds, via GoFundMe. In return, he is planning to send one donor, chosen via random name drawing, a printed Jet-M1 models.

The RespiraWorks ventilator concept. Image courtesy of GrabCAD.

Stratasys has reported that over 200 teams have submitted designs for GrabCAD’s CoVent-19 Challenge and that the finalist round has begun, with seven teams selected to build working prototypes of rapidly deployable, minimum viable ventilators. After that, judging will proceed, led by 12 anesthesiology resident physicians from Massachusetts General Hospital. The finalist projects chosen are the following: SmithVentCORE Vent, InVent Pneumatic VentilatorRespiraWorksOP VentLung Evolve, and the Baxter Ventilator. A winner will be selected by the beginning of June, which will see them attempt to bring the device to market with FDA approval.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) and other trade groups are attempting to push the United States Trade Representative (USTR) Office to broaden tariff exemptions on products during the pandemic from imported ventilators, oxygen masks and nebulizers to include 3D printers, drones, robots and personal computers that are made in China.

The groups suggest that these technologies are important to managing the COVID-19 outbreak, with the CTA saying in a letter to the USTR Office, “These tariffs are not only a barrier to the entry of necessary products, they are a tax on businesses and consumers that has become ever more harmful as many enter ‘survival mode’.”

Dassault Systemés has published some of the efforts of its Open COVID-19 Community, including the work of Inali, a non-profit in India, that has developed what it suggests is a safe, affordable ventilator in only eight days. It should be noted that the device is of the Ambu bag variety, like the Leitat1, which can be dangerous due to the high incidence of delivering too much air to the patient and leading to aspirating vomit into their airways or lungs and even dying.

As the pandemic continues to grip the world, we will continue to provide regular updates about what the 3D printing community is doing in response. As always, it is important to keep safety in mindremain critical about the potential marketing and financial interests behind seemingly good humanitarian efforts from businesses, and to do no harm.

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