ProtoCAM is working with Filament Innovations to produce 3D-printed masks and face shields for preventing the spread of COVID-19 for use within St. Luke’s University Health Network. The two manufacturers have been working with Megan Augustine, director of the network’s Simulation Center, in order to create the custom masks and face shields.
The process for producing the masks and shields involved the design of 3D files, 3D printing, testing, and final manufacturing. Ed Graham, ProtoCAM’s Vice President of Additive Manufacturing, was involved in every step of the design and production process for the project. “We recognized ProtoCAM’s ability to provide this desperately needed equipment, and being a life-sustaining business enabled to stay open through the crisis, we wanted to help any way we could by collaborating with St. Luke’s and Filament Innovations,” Graham said of the project.
Because of the current crisis and the desperate need for supplies, and particularly protective masks, all parties worked quickly and quietly through the past weekend and into early this week to get the masks to final production readiness. The goal for the masks was to produce a reusable, sterilizable protection device that can be cleaned and utilized multiple times, which not only addresses the lack in available healthcare supplies, but also cuts down significantly on waste.
The decision was made by ProtoCAM to utilize HP’s Multi Jet Fusion (MJF) technology to produce the masks due to the technology’s high production output and material availability. The PA Nylon 12 used in the MJF process is biocompatible and can be sterilized, and the technology itself allows for the production of thin-walled parts that help the mask better conform to the face. The 3D-printed masks can be custom-fitted to a healthcare worker’s face, maximizing protection efforts; the masks have to go through a comprehensive fit check (performed by St. Luke’s) in order to ensure a proper seal, so this feature is particularly important. The design of the mask also prominently features the Bethlehem star that is displayed within St. Luke’s logo, which serves to distinguish it.
Going forward, the masks will be printed at both ProtoCAM’s and Filament Innovations’ facilities (Filament Innovations will utilize fused filament fabrication technology to print the masks). The masks will then be made available to anyone in need across the St. Luke’s University Health Network. As for future use, St. Luke’s will make all medical decisions regarding the masks; ProtoCAM nor Filament are medical professionals, and neither company has the ability to authorize what is acceptable for proper use.
We value our customers and know that their production requirements do not cease even during a global epidemic such as this. As such, we will continue to offer the highest quality service and parts possible, and we look forward to serving our customers well past the situation at hand. ProtoCAM has capacity in multiple technologies to ensure quick-response manufacturing and delivery for any in-demand/out-of-stock parts with minimal human interaction. We are following and adhering to the best practices and guidelines from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and our state and federal governments in offering our 3D additive manufacturing services 24/7 to help in the quick-response manufacturing of urgent-need service and production parts. We urge our customers to contact us at email@example.com to assist with any supply chain issues that may arise during these unprecedented times.