As the COVID-19 pandemic has swept the world and changed life as we know it in many ways—along with opening up many questions for the future—makers, researchers, and medical inventors and professionals have teamed up to help with new designs for items like open-source ventilators, face shields and masks, and other critical parts. Now, with a $1.4 million grant from the United States Department of Commerce’s National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), America Makes will help businesses prepare for crises like the current viral pandemic—as well as others in the future.
America Makes is a dynamic organization to say the least. Founded in 2012, the Youngstown, Ohio-headquartered organization serves as a public-private partnership structured around member organizations, and managed by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).
Over the years—and especially as additive manufacturing has exploded as a mainstream technology—America Makes has been responsible for creating and funding efforts to challenge members and bring forth important innovation—whether in offering project calls for high-precision optical components to support the U.S. Air Force, creating a strategic guide for AM data, or launching challenges and announcing grants. While its previous work has made strong impacts on the industry, as well as encouraged makers of all ages to bring forth innovation, its latest efforts in working with other small and medium-sized businesses to address personal protection equipment shortages may not only be considered impressive but noble as well.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic we have seen additive manufacturers (AM) across the country respond to deliver safe and effective PPE, showing how AM can be the solution to help solve critical supply chain gaps,” said America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “We are extremely honored to receive the NIST grant to continue this important work.”
Inspiring—and significant—progress has been made in recent months as America Makes has worked with the following organizations:
- Federal Drug Administration (FDA)
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Along with offering important advice and guidelines to the 3D printing community, they also created a program for reviewing 3D-printable PPE designs. Over 31 designs have been created for use by clinicians, and 28 have also been optimized for the community.
In a recent press release, America Makes states that 499,166 units of AM products have also been matched, and that includes 229,995 non-N95 masks and 272,607 face shields. The NIH 3D Print Exchange has logged 95,743 file downloads and more than 1,112,651 views.
“Thank you for your swift action in rebuilding our medical and protective equipment supply chains as a result of the COVID-19 emergency,” stated Secretary Ross in his remarks, announcing the grant. “You teamed up with the VA, FDA, and NIH to optimize 31 PPE designs for clinical use, including 28 for production by the additive manufacturing community. This was no small feat, and I congratulate each of you for what you have accomplished here in Youngstown, and across the Manufacturing USA network.”
Find out more about America Makes here.[Source / Images: America Makes]
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