While 2020 is still not even a quarter of the way through, it has been an amazing year for 3D printing.
The highlight is the great news that 3D printing is helping protect healthcare workers and increase the amount of vital equipment used to treat critical cases of novel coronavirus. This is an incredible development, pioneered on the ground by doctors who are on the front lines of this crisis.
In Hong Kong, Polytechnic University has 3D printed face shields to help protect hospital workers as they tend to patients. Hospitals in Hong Kong faced a severe shortage of necessary face shields, leaving them poorly prepared for the massive influx of patients. However, the Hospital Authority reached out to the university to produce these simple but vital pieces of equipment through 3D printing. The university designed and prototyped the design, with feedback from hospital employees, in a week. They used 30 3D printers to produce 800 face shields over two weeks and are looking to step up production with cooperation from local manufacturers. Read more here.
In Italy, 3D printing also helped save lives by providing necessary respirator valves. The founder of Isinnova (an Italian startup), Cristian Fracassi, heard about this critical shortage and offered his company’s services to help provide valves. With 3D printing, it was simple and cheap to produce the valves, which are currently in use to help at least 10 patients. Read more about this life-saving use of 3D printing here.
While the crisis has consumed much of the news, there are other developments in 3D printing as well.
- Siemens has added more 3D printers to support its 30-year contract to 3D print replacement parts for high-speed trains in the UK, Germany, and Russia. Many of their printers are located at the transportation hubs for these trains, which will help facilitate quick repair.
- Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has received safety and quality approvals for its 3D printed submarine components. 3D printing has allowed engineers to redesign submarine parts to be better optimized thanks to its ability to reduce weight and create more ideal geometries.
- The long-sought ability to 3D print copper has finally been realized. Copper is difficult to print, as it is highly reflective and this causes issues with the sintering process used to 3D print other metals. It is often used for electronic components thanks to its unique conductive properties. With 3D printing, the possibilities are incredible.
At Jawstec, we track all the latest developments in 3D printing so we can provide better service and products to our customers. Contact us today to see if we can help you make use of this incredible technology for your project.
We would also like to let you know that our team keeps you all in our thoughts. While these times are trying, Jawstec believes that the future is bright. We will continue to provide excellent service and high-quality products. Please stay safe and take care of each other.