As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen global IT supply chains take a huge hit, causing delivery delays and shortages.
But HP’s Ramon Pastor told CRN that “3D printing can move from idea to production within days or weeks, and then can actually manufacture what it takes [to meet demands] when it’s needed, where it’s needed and the quantities needed.”
“This is what makes 3D printing so special in this crisis,” he added.
3D Printing Joins Fight Against COVID-19
Pastor told CRN there have been many use-cases of 3D printing to support the containment of the coronavirus, but “as we learn more, we are realizing that one of the most important components in the intensive care [unit] is the need of ventilators and respirators.”
“So what we are committing our resources to is to design key components to be able to produce more of theses devices… that make a difference between life and death,” said Pastor.
Looking Ahead At Coronavirus Crisis
Given all of the attention on 3D printing amid the coronavirus crisis, Pastor said, “It’s going to demonstrate that 3D printing technology is an industrial-grade technology that can produce quality products and can respond within hours, days, or weeks.”
“As painful as this is, it’s a moment that the 3D industry can stand up and at the same time give proof point that this is really a scalable way to produce goods in the future,” Pastor added.
“We are very active sharing designs, using our partners and using our digital manufacturing network to produce these critical parts,” he said. “[We’re] very, very aware of the local necessities and local realities.”
Digitally Transforming Manufacturing
Dave Kasinskas, president and owner of GSC an enterprise solution provider in 3D printing, told CRN, that 3D printing has “been around for a long time.”
Now, “we’re seeing a lot of new technology evolving,” said Kasinskas. “The HP Multi Jet Fusion [3-D] printer is an excellent example where we can print large numbers of parts. So we’re doing true additive manufacturing, where we do not have to take and create tools to create production parts.”
Leveraging HP Technology
As the Milwaukee Police Department continued to lose officers and resources to the coronavirus, GSC jumped to the department’s rescue to show how 3D printing can help.
“They had requirements for us to do 600 masks for them and everyday that went by without having these filters, every officer and detective was at risk of the virus,” said Kasinskas.
So when faced with the challenge to find HEPA-certified filters for the respirator face masks, GSC leveraged HP technology to design and engineer new equipment to make the filters effective.
“We did that using a package called SolidWorks and then also utilizing HP technology [to create] 600 of these adaptors and retrofit[ting] them to the Milwaukee Police Department’s mask,” Kasinskas said. “It was just a huge success story.”