In the United States, Stratasys has set an initial goal of producing 5,000 face shields by Friday, March 27, at no cost to the recipients. This includes both a 3D-printed frame and a clear plastic shield that covers the entire face. The company will have the ability to scale to an even faster rate of production.
Any 3D printing shop that wishes to help print plastic frames, can fill out an online form to be invited to join the effort. The company has also posted the full face shield printing and assembly instructions on its COVID-19 response page.
One of the world’s top hospitals has told Stratasys they use 1,530 disposable face shields every week even without the surge created by COVID-19 and is down to six days’ inventory on hand, with the pandemic still building momentum.
Stratasys said medical technology leader Medtronic and Minneapolis-based Dunwoody College of Technology will provide support for the plastic shield material.
“We are humbled by the opportunity to help. We see additive manufacturing as an essential part of the response to the COVID-19 global epidemic,” said Stratasys CEO Yoav Zeif. “The strengths of 3D printing – be anywhere, print virtually anything, adapt on the fly – make it a capability for helping address shortages of parts related to shields, masks, and ventilators, among other things. Our workforce and partners are prepared to work around the clock to meet the need for 3D printers, materials, including biocompatible materials, and 3D-printed parts.”
Stratasys has set up a web page where organisations can request 3D printed products to help with the crisis, offer 3D printing capacity, or request 3D printers or material for medical- or safety-related purposes.
The company is also planning to respond to the crisis in additional ways. An initiative led by anesthesiology residents of Massachusetts General Hospital called the CoVent-19 Challenge is planning to ask engineers and designers to help develop a new rapidly deployable ventilator and other innovative solutions to the ventilator shortage, and Stratasys plans to support the challenge and promote it via its GrabCAD community of more than 7 million professional designers, engineers, manufacturers and students.