ProtoCAM has been working with Filament Innovations to develop and produce 3D-printed masks for preventing the spread of COVID-19 for use within medical facilities.
The process for producing the masks involves 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 Filament Innovations,” Graham said of the project.
Because of the current COVID-19 crisis and the desperate need for supplies, and particularly protective masks, ProtoCAM has been working quickly, while taking all appropriate safety measures, to get the masks to final production readiness. The goal for the masks is to produce a reusable, sterilizable protection device that can be cleaned and utilized multiple times, which not only addresses the current reduction in available personal protective equipment nationwide, 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 features, which helps the mask better conform to the face. The 3D-printed masks are properly fitted to a healthcare worker’s face to form a seal around the nose and mouth, and then go through a comprehensive fit test in order to ensure a proper seal, so this feature is particularly important.
Going forward, the masks will be printed at both ProtoCAM’s and Filament Innovations’ facilities (Filament Innovations will utilize a different technology for the masks). The masks will then be made available to anyone in need. As for future use, the medical facilities that ProtoCAM and Filament Innovations provide these masks to will make all medical decisions regarding the masks; ProtoCAM nor Filament Innovations are medical professionals, and neither company has the ability to authorize what is acceptable for proper use within the medical field.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to assist with any supply chain issues that may arise during these unprecedented times.