From synthetic limbs to personalised medical devices, 3D printing improves healthcare supply as a lot because it helps any trade. And using 3D printing in the course of the COVID pandemic is a superb instance of how.
After all, few of us will neglect the quick response to the primary wave of COVID, which was to lockdown nearly every little thing and everybody. However one exception was the healthcare trade, significantly frontline healthcare staff. They needed to work extra.
It was nearly unimaginable to foretell the repercussions of a near-complete lockdown. One nearly quick consequence was the disruption within the circulate of products from producers to markets. This contains the availability of non-public protecting gear (PPE) that frontline healthcare staff use. Together with face shields and eye safety, the speedy improve in demand and simultaneous lower in provide created a essential scarcity.
Virtually as rapidly, 3D printer producers, customers, service suppliers – nearly anybody with extra 3D printing capabilities – jumped in to assist cease the scarcity.
And right here’s the place the COVID instance actually reveals how 3D printing advantages healthcare supply. Not solely did provides of standard security glasses, face shields and masks adjusters improve utilizing 3D printing, however it was additionally potential to make the merchandise higher. Listed here are just some of the methods PPE met the challenges of COVID with enhancements led to by additive manufacturing.
Not often has the requirement been to put on PPE all day, daily, for such an prolonged time. Current PPE was sturdily constructed, however that provides weight. Fixed use made them uncomfortable, even painful to put on. Speedy prototyping is a conventional use of additive manufacturing, and the trade was quickly in a position to develop new gear that was lighter and extra comfy to put on.
The flexibility of 3D printing supplies, together with biocompatible supplies, significantly plastics that work together safely with the human physique, was additionally useful throughout COVID. In only one instance, Proto3000 used our 3D printing know-how to create face masks with HP PA 12 Nylon, which minimizes pores and skin irritation and meets USP Class I-VI and US FDA steering for pores and skin contact.
Cleaner Manufacturing Course of
After all, PPE should keep away from COVID contamination throughout manufacturing. With the method faraway from bigger extra difficult-to-clean manufacturing amenities, it was simpler to maintain it clear.
Healthcare staff who handled unsure penalties of COVID publicity selected to put on many layers of masks and eye safety. Nevertheless, present face shields and eyewear weren’t all the time in a position to accommodate the additional gear. Once more, additive manufacturing was in a position to rapidly adapt designs to permit using extra layers of safety.
Wish to be taught extra about how additive manufacturing advantages healthcare? Try our article How does the dental trade profit from additive manufacturing?