The AM for COVID-19 Forum was launched to enable medical providers to communicate to AM providers what is needed at the front lines. As we’ve seen, the two most critical things needed at this point in time (besides medical staff), are emergency products like mass-produced protective masks and ventilators, which will be needed in mass numbers very soon. While AM is not a technology used for mass production, it has two significant advantages over traditional manufacturing: it can produce locally and can begin production immediately and these are, in any emergency, key advantages.
AM’s potential lies in its ability to produce parts on location as well as its ability to streamline the supply chain of complex parts for complex systems. A well-coordinated effort could, therefore, help to connect medical workers who need parts with those on the AM side with the tools to produce them, on-demand and on location, when supply chains are disrupted or broken.
As we’ve learned through our ongoing coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic, hundreds of thousands of additive manufacturing professionals and enthusiasts around the world are ready to make their experience and production capabilities available to those who need them most.
3dpbm will help by collecting information and sharing it with the industry. Healthcare professionals, AM companies, professionals and makers are invited to register for the forum to share resources by adding a new topic to a Forum section. When you add a topic, always include your location so users around the world can find you locally in the Realtime Global Map, which helps healthcare institutions and AM service providers connect the dots by identifying the relevant support and support networks in their area.
The forum sections cater to different requirements:
- Urgent help needed – here you will find hospitals that have put out specific calls for help. If you are a healthcare professional and need parts that can be 3D printed please create a new topic in this section with you contact information and include your location so that users will be able to find you in the global real-time map.
- Government / NGO / healthcare institutions call for help – here you will find the lists of all official activities and published regulations by industry associations and governmental or healthcare institutions calling for manufacturers to supply urgently needed parts. If you represent a major national institution please post valuable information here to reach our global community of AM professionals.
- AM Companies ready to help – if you represent a healthcare institution here you will be able to find out what major AM companies are doing. If you are an international 3D printer manufacturer or additive manufacturing service you can post information on your production capabilities in this section. 3dpbm is also working with major companies to create a curated list of verified AM part suppliers. To be considered for this curated list please fill out this form. You can also find relevant information in this article.
- Professionals / Makers ready to help if you run a local 3D printing service provider or simply have 3D printers ready to offer production capabilities in your area, insert your contact information in this section and don’t forget to include your location so that you can be found locally in the global real-time map.
- Open source projects – in this section you will find information on ongoing collaborative online projects to produce needed parts and systems such as low-cost ventilators, adapters, and other needed medical devices
- Useful STL files – every time we identify a potentially useful STL it will be posted here. Forum users can also share their files or link to the filed download pages in this section. Please note that not all of these files are medically validated. 3dpbm is building a curated section for medically validated STL files.
- Patent and copyright information – in this section you will find relevant information about specific guidelines and protocols that government, academic or private institutions have developed and released, including available information on regulatory environments in an emergency situation.
While the world has known about the coronavirus for months now, the global spread of the virus has escalated dramatically in recent weeks, practically bringing the world to a standstill. And as many of us are following directives to stay home to contain the spread of the virus, medical workers across the globe are giving their all to helping the rising number of COVID-19 patients. As the strain on healthcare systems around the world increases, it has become apparent that most places will soon be lacking (if they are not already) in critical medical supplies, like protective equipment and respiratory aids.
Out of this dire situation, additive manufacturing has risen up, with many companies and individuals mobilizing their resources to manufacture medical supplies and parts. We at 3dpbm have been heartened to see the urgent effort on the part of the AM industry and have done our best to provide a platform where medical and 3D printing providers can connect.
If you have a specific and urgent request, please reach out to us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to try and help.