Since announcing its strategy to support COVID-19 relief efforts by leveraging its 3D printing resources to produce face shields for medical workers, Stratasys has reportedly received requests for over 350,000 units of the protective equipment. To help meet this growing demand for much-needed equipment, Stratasys is seeking members to join its COVID-19 coalition. To date, the coalition consists of over 150 members, including Boeing, Toyota Motor Company, Medtronic, Dunwoody College of Technology, the University of Central Florida and the University of Minnesota.
The company is inviting any 3D printing shop that has the capacity to 3D print at least 100 face shields to join its coalition. Interested parties can fill out this form to receive an invitation from Stratasys. Within Europe, the company is acting as a hub, connecting coalition members to medical institutions or centers with requests. In the U.S., the company is leveraging its GrabCAD Shop management software to assign orders from healthcare groups to coalition members. 3D printing files and assembly instructions are also available to download for free by anyone.
The coalition is now producing components for over 30 healthcare systems, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and academic medical centers. Stratasys itself is making thousands of face shields in Minnesota, California and Texas. The company is also scaling up production of its 3D printing materials to meet demand from its partner network and has released free material licenses on several of its high-end 3D printers to encourage visor production.
“I have never seen collaboration across our industry the way I’ve been seeing it over the last couple weeks,” said Scott Drikakis, Stratasys Healthcare Segment Leader. “The need is dire, but we are getting the kind of commitments from our coalition partners that will make a real difference and help buy time to scale up the manufacturing of shields and other essential supplies. This rapid, adaptive response is what 3D printing does exceptionally well, and I’m very proud of our employees and partners.”
The 3D printed face shields are similar to many we’ve seen and written about. They consist of a 3D printed visor, which fits around the wearer’s head using an elastic band, resting against the forehead, and a plastic sheet, which covers the entire face, protecting it from droplets. The shield is ideally to be worn in combination with a medically certified face mask. Stratasys says with its partners it is preparing to produce over 11,000 face shields next week, and at least 16,000 the following week.
The company is also supporting an initiative led by anesthesiology residents from the Massachusetts General Hospital called the CoVent-19 Challenge. The challenge, which will launch next week, invites engineers and designers to come up with novel solutions for a rapidly deployable ventilator, which could be used to treat COVID-19 patients.