In this time of crisis, every person has a role to play, whether it is staying put at home, providing an essential service or working on the front lines. In the additive manufacturing industry, many companies and individuals have stepped up to leverage 3D printing capabilities to help support those working on the front lines, to protect them from exposure to the virus. It has been heartening to see and is truly making a difference.
Among the 3D printing companies striving to make a difference is Polish selective laser sintering (SLS) specialist Sinterit. In response to the spread of COVID-19, the company has turned to its trusty system, the LISA PRO SLS 3D printer, for the production of protective shield components.
With a build size of 150 x 200 x 260 mm and a rapid printing rate, a single LISA PRO system is reportedly capable of printing as many as 2,500 face shield connectors a month, which can be used construct a total of 1,250 face shields. At its own facility, Sinterit put its machine park to work, producing 4,000 face shields in a matter of days to be delivered to hospitals.
SLS in times of crisis
Beyond 3D printing personal protective equipment (PPE) at its Polish site, Sinterit is also looking ahead, to the economic ramifications of the pandemic and how 3D printing and other automated processes can help to mitigate their impact. As the company explains, to remain operational throughout the duration of the crisis and its aftermath, businesses need to ensure the autonomy of their production, prototyping and testing to overcome challenges or disruptions in the supply chain. SLS 3D printing can help.
Over the past couple of months, additive manufacturing has demonstrated its potential in several ways. For one, as traditional supply chains have been strained or weakened in the face of the pandemic, 3D printing has proved to be a reliable production source, enabling companies to continue some degree of production in house. Second, and most critically, the technology has enabled people from all over the world to respond to the crisis in a productive way, through the design and on-demand production of much-needed supplies, like face masks and shields, parts for respiratory devices, nasal swabs and more.
Sinterit’s LISA PRO, one of the most cost-accessible SLS platforms on the market, can support businesses as they transition to more independent and autonomous production. The professional-grade system costs about 10 times less than an industrial SLS machine, but offers the benefits of the process, including high quality and high strength parts. The system is also designed for easy adoption: it does not require any specific infrastructures and can be installed in most settings. The printer is also easy to use thanks to Sinterit’s online training course, meaning that businesses can initiate production quickly and flexibly.
“During the crisis, managers are afraid of losing control of their businesses,” the company states. “LISA PRO helps to overcome it. It is a valuable tool to face the upcoming problems as it makes the company more self-sufficient. Remember, that the first rule of paramedics is to secure yourself to be able to help others. Sinterit encourages its clients to help and print parts needed by hospitals, but also to secure their businesses and workplaces.”
In its own 3D printer production, Sinterit’s team is working safely and hard to meet orders within short lead times. The company, which moved into a three times larger facility last month, ensures its 3D printers are being assembled in a way that is safe for its employees. All other staff, like sales, logistics, production and support departments are working remotely.
This article was published in collaboration with Sinterit.