A 3D printing network in Michigan is rushing to aid Ukrainians during wartime by printing parts for tourniquets. The humanitarian effort is being led locally by Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD, a 3D printing network of 300 small and medium-sized manufacturers, which is working with Makershelp, a 3D printing organization in Denmark, to fulfill a request from the Ukrainian Defense Ministry to supply tourniquets to help those in need of medical assistance during the Russian assault on Ukraine. Project DIAMOnD will activate its emergency mode to mobilize all printers in its network to print tourniquet clips before final assembly in Denmark.
Project DIAMOnD—which stands for Distributed, Independent, Agile Manufacturing on Demand—was established in 2020 through CARES ACT funding grants given to Automation Alley to accelerate digital transformation among Michigan manufacturers and strengthen supply chains for developing PPE. To date, the initiative has distributed and connected 300 3D printers to manufacturers across Michigan.
In times of crisis, like wartime and pandemics, 3D printing is the ideal technology to produce needed parts because of its flexibility and speed. The designs for parts can also be shared digitally among multiple locations and producers.
“The specific part that the Ukrainian government needed was a tourniquet clip that cannot be easily produced using conventional means quickly because of turnaround times in mold making. The 3D printers and the Onyx material we have available through Project DIAMOnD was a perfect fit for this application,” said Pavan Muzumdar, Automation Alley COO. “We are grateful to be able to help the people of Ukraine in some way.”
When the printers are not being used to fulfill emergency orders, participating manufacturers use the 3D printers they received to expand their production of a variety of industrial parts and products, ultimately enhancing smart manufacturing capabilities in Michigan and throughout the United States.
Secure, scalable, and traceable, Project DIAMOnD’s network is taking small and medium-sized manufacturers to the next level. By reducing the financial risk, providing interactive training, and creating a connected network of users, Project DIAMOnD has filled a much-needed gap in Michigan’s manufacturing ecosystem.
“As a manufacturer, Project DIAMOnD has allowed us to experiment with 3D printing and innovate for our own business while simultaneously giving us the opportunity to aid in humanitarian efforts when called upon. It’s a win-win,” said Richard Canny, President of Ultimation Industries, LLC, a designer and manufacturer of conveyors based in Roseville, Michigan. “Through Project DIAMOnD, we’ve been able to implement a full digital process and we are really happy to be able to assist with this particular Ukrainian effort. It’s a small thing, but we are delighted to be able to help out. It’s one great example of how additive manufacturing can respond to a need like this quickly.”
When asked about the initiative, Dom Holmes of Oakland County, Michigan said “Since its launch in the fall of 2020, Project DIAMOnD has been a catalyst for innovation among Oakland County manufacturers. Today’s activation of the Project DIAMOnD Command Center for the purpose of producing lifesaving Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) highlights the utilitarian role such a network can have during extraordinary times.”
As in other emergency situations in the past, 3D printing service providers, makers and and enthusiasts have been coordinated efforts to help others – 3DPrintingforUkraine and glia are prime examples of 3D printing being used for humanitarian aid.