According to the World Health Organization, there are currently close to 1,200,000 cases of the disease around the world, with that number rising every day, and we’ve all added the phrase “social distancing” to our vocabulary.
HP is collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs, and begin 3D printing them. HP’s worldwide network of digital manufacturing and production partners have stepped up to the plate to create and deliver 3D printed critical parts during this pandemic to help support the global health community and more than 1,000 parts have been delivered to local hospitals already. The company’s 3D R&D centers in Washington, Oregon, California, and Spain are banding together, working with partners all around the world to ramp up production of these parts in order to help the healthcare sector meet the urgent needs of its many patients, and contain the spread of COVID-19, through 3D printing. Because HP’s network of manufacturing partners is global, these 3D printed parts should be available to hospitals in any region in the world. The company is working with industry, health, and government agencies to make sure that the approach is effective and synchronized, and its partners are making many of their validated 3D design files available for download free of charge here. The available designs consist of parts that don’t require complex assembly so that production can keep up its accelerated pace. There are several important applications that have already been finalized for industrial 3D printing, such as respirator parts and nasal swabs. Another is a face shield, which is one of the personal protection items in high demand at the moment. Critical components of these shields are 3D printable brackets that help ensure a comfortable fit. Hospital staff is often required to wear face masks for extended periods of time now. A 3D printed mask adjuster features a clasp that helps provide the wearer with some relief from ear pain caused by wearing their masks for so long. One of the most germ-infested items in any hospital, home, or workplace is the door handle – just think how many different people have touched it in a 24-hour period! On second thought, maybe don’t think about it. But a 3D printed adapter makes it possible to easily open doors with your elbows: a hands-free option that obviously keeps things much cleaner. Plenty of other 3D printed applications to help contain COVID-19 are currently in the testing and validation phase, and production for these should start in the coming days and weeks. One such example is the FFP3 face mask, which helps protect medical providers as they treat a higher volume of patients. HP is currently validating multiple hospital-grade 3D printable face masks, and they should be available soon. A simplified design that requires 3D printed parts for a field ventilator is also being validated. The mechanical bag valve mask (BVM) was designed to provide short-term emergency ventilation to patients with COVID-19, and while it’s definitely an important application, the design makes the device simple yet strong, which helps speed up the production and assembly process. For more information about HP, please contact your closest Dynagraph partner.