3D printing will help in meeting the supply needs of essential medical gear amidst corona virus outbreak
HP and other companies are working on making 3D parts of medical gears like breathing filters and ventilator valves.
3D printers could help in meeting the medical supply shortages during this novel coronavirus outbreak.
HP, SmileDirectClub, a teeth straightener vendor and many other companies are figuring out ways to take help of their 3D-printing technology for building things like breathing filters, ventilator valves, and face mask clasps. HP said in a press release on Wednesday “it’s also looking at entirely new parts such as plastic door handle adaptors which enable easy elbow opening to prevent further spread of the virus.”
“We will make available any HP proprietary design files for these parts so they can be produced anywhere in the world and are also helping end-customers bridge potential supply chain interruptions by expanding distributed print-on-demand capabilities,” the tech giant of Silicon Valley said.
SmileDirectClub makes customized 3D printed orthodontia, said that the company is one of the largest manufacturers of 3D-printing in the US. The company has opened the manufacturing units and is planning on donating the plastic to help all the companies health organizations and medical supply companies, so they can increase the production of essential coronavirus medical supplies such as respirator valves and medical face shields.
people on social media websites are sharing plans for 3D-printing customizable face masks. People are also forming groups to make 3D printed ventilators and other materials.
This doesn’t mean that you can use 3D-printer to build your own equipment. Building items need specialized equipment and tools and until now it is not sure how a 3D-printed mask would actually work.
Coronavirus lockdowns have created among people and caused people to pick their bags and rush to pharmacies, grocery stores, and corner bodegas to get enough supplies for upcoming quarantined weeks at home.
toilet paper, disinfectants, hand sanitizer, and masks are all in high demand and are currently in shortage.
The medical staff across the country is struggling to get enough ventilators, masks and other essential medical gear required to treat people who are infected with COVID-19. According to The Society of Critical Care Medicine, nearly 1 million patients of coronavirus in the US may require ventilators at any point in the future during this massive outbreak, but the country only has about 200,000 Ventilators as of now.
3D printing will be of great help in some key areas, such as those ventilator valves are being taken care of by HP. Tesla and other automakers are also volunteering in building more ventilators.
But it is not right to expect that 3D printers can completely solve the current shortage problem. Items, like face masks, are a little complicated to make because of the materials required to build them. The 3D machines work slow and require hours to build some designs. Small items are printed within a few minutes, therefore making simple valves is quicker to print. 3D-printing won’t allow mass production like in a factory.
But this won’t stop the companies from trying.