COVID-19 News update: How the 3D printing industry is helping fight the virus

An overview of current aid projects and contacts

Even in difficult times the AM industry sticks together and demonstrates a strong commitment. Thanks to fast and locally independent production, 3D printing can react flexibly and promptly to current emergencies. We have summarised current aid measures of the AM industry. You will find the developments thematically arranged on the subjects of ventilators & artificial respiration, coordination and personal prodection & masks. The overview is updated regularly. If you would like to engage yourself, you will find individual links and contacts in the respective countries and regions.

Personal protection, masks & others

2020/05/27 — FIT AG has also developed a model of its reusable FiT filter carrier for children. Reusable filter carriers are a sustainable alternative to billions of disposable masks in use. Between two easy to clean plastic baskets made of skin-friendly PE, a replaceable filter material is inserted - for example a paper handkerchief, which is thrown away after use.

Medical Goes Additive (MGA) has announced a call for donations to all printer manufacturers, 3D printing service providers and makerspaces on April 17th. Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e. V. has an urgent need for protective equipment, among other things 5,000 protective face shields are needed. With almost 300 regional, district and local associations, the non-profit organisation is an important pillar of the German national healthcare system. Already on April 29th, the 5.000 face shields could be handed over to the Johanniter.

2020-04-09 - University Hospital Trust (AP-HP) in Paris, France, has invested in a fleet of 60 Stratasys FDM 3D Printers (F123 Series) to bridging the shortfall in traditionally manufactured equipment. »Leveraging 3D printing technology on this scale gives AP-HP its own rapid-response supply chain in-house, placing production directly where it’s needed and ensuring essential equipment is quickly in the hands of frontline medical staff«, says Andreas Langfeld, Stratasys EMEA President.

A protective half-mask (under the name CIIRC RP95-3D) has been developed at the Czech Technical University in Prague at late March 2020. It consists of a 3D printed mask body and a exchangeable filter. According to the university, the mask has been certified according to the EN 140:1999 norm, thus meeting the same or even higher degree of protection as a FFP3 respirator. Test proved that even after sterilization in an autoclave the safety of the half-mask was maintained. Shortly afterwards Skoda started production on its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printer and now produces 60 mask sets per day.

2020-03-29 - The University of South Florida (USF) Health, Formlabs, and Northwell Health have successfully produced and tested a 3D printed nasal swab. New York’s largest hospital is thus preparing for possible emergency shortages. Now that clinical validation is complete, 3D printers at USF Health and Northwell Health will produce the swabs.

2020-03-25 - Stratasys is mobilizing 3D printing resources and expertise worldwide - the company will donate Stratasys GrabCAD, Stratasys Direct Manufacturing and partner network printing capabilities. Initially, this will cover thousands of disposable face shield visors for medical personnel. In the USA, the company plans to produce 5,000 face protection visors free of charge by 27 March. This includes the 3D-printed plastic frame as well as a transparent plastic shield that covers the entire face. Stratasys has set up a contact page. UPDATE: Soon after, Stratasys reports that more than 150 companies and universities have joined its initiative. The inquiries from hospitals and other organizations exceed 350,000 face shields. 2020-03-27 - HP provides various designs for masks and other equipment for download from its website.

2020-03-23 - Farsoon and Partners PEAK Sports and Huaxiang share free design files for facial mask adjuster and safety googles. The facial mask adjuster is designated by PEAK Sports for the urgent need of medical workers to improve comfort wearing protective masks for extended periods of time. The mask strap was originally produced using Farsoon FS3300PA material, but any equivalent material should be suitable. The medical safety goggle is designed and produced by Huaxiang Group. In China, thousands of pairs of products had been produced rapidly. The main goggle frames are produced from Farsoon FS3300PA material, the sealing rings are made of Lehvoss TPU material. Both designs are available on the Farsoon website. Suitable printing technologies are SLS, FDM and SLA.

ventilators and artifical respiration

2020-04-08 - Materialise has developed the Materialise NIP Connector, a device to convert standard equipment available in most hospitals, into a mask to facilitate breathing for patients by creating positive pressure in the lungs. These assembled masks allow clinicians to reduce the time patients need access to mechanical ventilators, which helps to reduce the strain on ventilator supplies. Materialise is now fast-tracking the regulatory registrations and expects to have the device broadly available for hospitals by mid-April.

CHALLENGES

The CoVent-19 Challenge has been launched on April 1, 2020 to design a rapidly deployable mechanical ventilator. The challenge which is hosted on the GrabCAD Challenges platform invites engineers, innovators, designers, and makers to create CAD assemblies by May 1 and functional prototypes by June 1, 2020 (Round 2: invitation only).

Munich Re and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have launched the »Give a Breath - Challenge« to support the development of equipment for emergency ventilation in late March 2020. Individuals or teams can submit digital blueprints by April 6, 2020. The winning designs will be made available worldwide for decentralized production.

 

 

2020-03-26 - Researchers at RWTH Aachen University have developed a very simple do-it-yourself respiratory pump that is not certified. Among other things, a conventional resuscitator, 3D printed plastic parts, and an electric motor are required. According to the RWTH Aachen, the construction time is one day. Download the building instructions on the Coresponse project website

2020-03-20 - In Spain, a 3D printed emergency respiration device has been developed and produced by the alliance of the Consorci de la Zona Franca, HP, Leitat, CatSalut, the Consorci Sanitari de Terrassa and the Hospital Parc Taulí de Sabadell. The device is a mechanical bag valve mask that can be used for short term emergency ventilation of COVID-19 patients.

On March 18th, Isinnova, an Italian start-up from Brescia, reported the delivery of 100 venturi valves for respirators to the hospital in Chiari in northern Italy within 2 days. The valves that connect the ventilator masks to the oxygen supply have to be replaced for each patient and were in short supply in the hospital. The original manufacturer could not procure replacements quickly enough. Due to the emergency situation, certification of the 3D-printed valves was waived. Although there were numerous requests from other hospitals afterwards, the 3D printed designs could not be made generally available due to legal and medical concerns. UPDATE 2020-03-27: Other 3D-printing-companies followed, such as Roboze which 3D printed hundreds of valves for respirators. Isinnova also developed a »Charlotte valve« that converts a Decathlon snorkel mask into a respirator. The use of the non-certified mask is dependent on patient consent. The design data can be downloaded from Isinnova's website.

Coordination

GERMANY
The Medical goes Additive (MGA) working group has planned its regular meetings specifically as a 3D printing pandemic task force. The virtual meetings have been opened to non-members as well. The goal of the MGA is to bundle capacities of the 3D printing industry and offer them to hospitals, for example. Over 270 companies from all industries including automotive and sportswear have already signed up. Current developments and solutions are discussed in the regular online conferences announced on the MGA website. There are also serval mask designs provided for free download.

Also several companies such as EOS, 3Yourmind, SLM Solutions or the international manufacturing platform 3D Hubs have set up own platforms to support the fight against Covid-19. Siemens is providing its existing 3D printing platform, the Additive Manufacturing Network, and is connecting its equipment. Via the platform, designers and engineers from Siemens AG are also available for design requests.

USA
America Makes is partnering with various US health authorities, amongst others the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to connect the capabilities of the additive manufacturing industry with specific needs of health care providers. An online repository will record necessary information from both the additive manufacturing industry and health care providers, and eventually include a pathway for designs to be uploaded for review to ensure they meet medical standards, and downloaded for use in production. Uploaded AM designs will be reviewed in a fast track workflow within the 3D Print Exchange of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

USA / Colorada
Make4Covid’s mission is to make equipment for the Colorado healthcare sector. Working alongside medical professionals, regulators, and experts, the Make4Covid community is designing, manufacturing, and testing medical and protective equipment.

AUSTRIA
2020-03-24 -
The technology platform Additive Manufacturing Austria (AM-Austria) has established a contact point which coordinates supply bottlenecks and 3D printing resources of the association members. The main objective is to support the procurement of spare parts for biomedical products and devices, among others by measurement of components, generating CAD data, as well as selecting and providing various materials, 3D printing capabilities and post-processing of components. Please send inquiries by email to AM-Austria, if possible with a description of the problem, photos and information about the required number of pieces and delivery time.

EUROPE
2020-03-21
- CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and related Manufacturing Technologies, has issued a call to action for Additive Manufacturing companies to aid hospitals during the coronavirus outbreak. Requested by the European Commission, the association addresses its membership to aid in producing equipment (such as valves or ventilators). »I believe that the Additive Manufacturing sector can play an important role in sustaining the effort of hospital workers in the middle of this emergency,« said Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General. Companies wishing to be part of the initiative to support hospitals through the outbreak should contact Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General, or Vincenzo Belletti, Policy Innovation Manager.

Editor's Note:
The projects listed here are intended to provide an overview of the 3D printing industry's efforts to fight COVID-19. However, despite our best efforts, we cannot always ensure that these projects make sense from a medical point of view and actually improve patient well-being. We therefore strongly recommend that for further engagements, you contact the listed coordination institutions, which can assess the current need and medical use.