Here at ProtoCAM, we’re working diligently to support our community, customers, and employees during the COVID-19 crisis. We note with pride that 3D printers and additive manufacturing facilities around the world are providing desperately needed medical supplies to overwhelmed healthcare organizations. From community discord servers to crowd-sourcing databases, our industry at large has been steadfast in its commitment to offer its engineering and production expertise amidst this current health crisis.
While efforts to help assist during COVID-19 certainly can take many forms, when it comes to personal protective equipment (PPE), ProtoCAM is adhering to the particular specifications we feel are necessary in order to ensure that the equipment we produce is as safe to use as possible. As a professional industrial additive manufacturing facility that maintains ISO 9001:2015 certification, we strive to adhere to the highest standards of quality for all products coming out of our facility.
In our current efforts to assist in the production of PPE during COVID-19, we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure we’re creating the best quality and safest products before beginning full production and distribution to hospitals and other medical facilities. In creating a medical mask here at ProtoCAM in the midst of COVID-19, we have taken the following steps to ensure the safest, best-quality product:
- Engineered via design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) by ProtoCAM
- DFAM utilized to create a unique design made to conform to the face
- Utilized HP Multi Jet Fusion technology for production, which also allows for high output
- Used Nylon 12 (non-porous) material, which is a biocompatible and skin-safe material
- Utilized an FDA-approved gasket material, which provides a comfortable seal
- Ensured the product could be sanitized in an autoclave, which allows for reusability
- Utilized a replaceable filter made from a biosoluble filter material with a MERV 14 rating
Like with all our products, we have determined that PPE produced for use during COVID-19 should strictly adhere to the highest standards of safety in order to be effective. We will continue to refine our methods to ensure we’re producing the safest equipment possible, while always entrusting final assessment to medical professionals.
At the ProtoCAM facility and beyond in the larger community, we’re doing our best to combat the spread of COVID-19, and we encourage others to do the same. We’re committed to acting as preemptively as possible, with strict attention to detail and a commitment to upholding the highest safety standards. Our in-house precautionary measures have included:
- Preemptively ordered sufficient masks, gloves, and other equipment necessary to our continued manufacturing operation, which were expected to be in short supply during the pandemic
- Suspended face-to-face sales calls and company travel until further notice
- Suspended visits to the facility other than for essential purposes (deliveries, picking up parts); when visits are necessary, a zero-contact protocol is in place
- Propped open doors into the building and restrooms so as to avoid surface touching
- Set up hand sanitizing stations and mounted instructions at every door, with instructions for egress
- Articulated guidelines for social distancing to all employees and potential visitors
- Directed set-up for those employees able to work from home
- Suspended outside cleaning services to ensure only essential personnel enter the building, and increased internal cleaning of facility
- Allowed for voluntary lay-off and use of vacation days for any associate feeling uncomfortable or unsafe about continuing work
- Directed set-up of video conferencing and have established continuous contact between all staff members
- Continuously and proactively working with authorities and professionals to ensure ProtoCAM is appropriately financially positioned to thrive under current circumstances
- Currently leading a research and development effort to create a 3D-printed medical mask to help with critical supply issues
- Looking into additional 3D-printed medical supplies and personal protective equipment than can be developed to assisted with supply shortages.
ProtoCAM continues to monitor the situation at hand and adjust measures taken accordingly; any additional actions/processes may be reviewed in our continuously updated list here. You can also read more about our production status during COVID-19, and learn how others are helping in the fight against the disease.
Hear from Ed Graham, our Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, on the design of our 3D-printed medical mask: