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Adrian Wilson

Editor's Viewpoint

30th March 2020, United States

Stratasys 3D printing coalition attracts over 150 organisations

© Stratasys.© Stratasys.

A coalition of companies and universities has been rapidly assembled by Stratasys to produce face shields leveraging 3D printers, with requests from hospitals and other organisations for these products currently exceeding 350,000.

Stratasys had set an initial goal to produce 5,000 face shields at no cost to recipients through its own and partner resources by March 27th, including both 3D-printed visors and clear plastic shields that cover the entire face.

It now expects to produce more than 11,000 face shields this week, and 16,000 next week.

For the US, Stratasys is using its GrabCAD Shop work order management software to assign orders from healthcare systems to each coalition member. In Europe, the company is serving as a hub to connect service bureaus with those requesting help and has fielded offers and requests in most of the larger countries. The company has also posted the full-face shield printing and assembly instructions for anyone to produce face shields on their own.

So far, the coalition is serving the needs of more than 30 different health systems, covering hospitals, clinics, academic medical centres and nursing homes.

“I have never seen collaboration across our industry the way I’ve been seeing it over the last couple of weeks,” said Stratasys healthcare segment leader Scott Drikakis, who is directing the company’s COVID-19 response in the Americas. “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.”

Any 3D printing shop that wishes to help print at least 100 visors can fill out an online form to be invited to join the effort.

An initiative led by anesthesiology residents of Massachusetts General Hospital called the CoVent-19 Challenge is also launching this week. The challenge asks engineers and designers to help develop a new rapidly deployable ventilator and other innovative solutions to the ventilator shortage, and Stratasys will support the challenge and promote it via its GrabCAD community of more than 7 million professional designers, engineers, manufacturers and students. The company will also provide prototyping services to the challenge finalists.

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