Many 3D printing companies are stepping up in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, offering up their capabilities to overcome hurdles in existing supply chains. Among them is HP Inc., which today announced that it is mobilizing its 3D printing teams and resources to produce and deliver critical parts to help hospitals around the world to treat patients and protect staff.
According to the company, over 1,000 3D printed parts have already been delivered to hospitals from HP’s 3D R&D centers in Barcelona, Spain; Corvallis, Oregon; San Diego, California; and Vancouver, Washington. The centers have been working with partners across the globe to meet the production needs of hospitals in this time of crisis.
At this stage, HP says initial applications are being validated and finalized for industrial production. These applications include face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers and respirator parts. The company is also in conversation with government, health and industry agencies in various countries to facilitate a well coordinated approach to producing and delivering these devices.
“HP and our digital manufacturing partners are working non-stop in the battle against this unprecedented virus. We are collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs and begin 3D printing them,” commented Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc. “Our deepest appreciation goes to our employees, partners, customers, and members of our community for their tireless efforts to support the medical professionals making a difference on the front lines.”
Three devices are now being finalized for production: a hands-free door opener designed by Materialise, which enables people to avoid touching potentially contaminated door handles by using their arms; a mask adjuster, which can help improve the comfort of protective masks worn by medical staff for long periods of time; and face shields, which consist of a plastic guard and a 3D printed bracket that fits on the wearer’s head comfortably, protecting the face from droplets.
Two other critical devices are now in the testing phase and are expected to begin production soon. They are a field ventilator designed by Leitat and FFP3 face masks. The former is intended for short-term emergency ventilation and consists of 3D printed parts for a mechanical bag valve. The simplified design allows for more rapid production, assembly and deployment. HP is also validating several hospital-grade FFP3 face masks, which could help medical staff remain protected from COVID-19 exposure. The masks are expected to be available soon.
HP and its partners say they will be uploading validated design files for 3D printed medical products that do not require complex assembly. The files, found here, will be free to access and to download. HP is also taking suggestions for new applications here and is accepting requests for support with application development.