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Corona crisis: 3D printing to support the manufacture of protective masks
Protective equipment for the medical sector is often difficult to obtain in the face of the corona crisis. At Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, individual parts for corona protective masks are currently being produced with the 3D printer to support the clinics with the care.
"The 3D printers are currently running at full speed in the laboratories of the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences to support the clinics in the region in the production of medical protective equipment," the University of Applied Sciences announced. Where otherwise students prepare project or final theses in the context of "rapid prototyping", "layer by layer, hour by hour, so-called face shields" are produced from the finest plastic powder.
Pragmatic solutions needed
In view of the lack of protective equipment, many hospitals are looking for pragmatic solutions and the Ruhrlandklinik in Essen has therefore made an unusual request to the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences. The clinic hoped for support in 3D printing and at the university of applied sciences it was decided without further ado to take up the challenge in a collaboration between the departments of architecture, mechanical engineering, computer science and the Institute for the Digitization of Working and Living Worlds (IDiAL).
3D printers produce face shields
Since then, the university's 3D printers have been producing the individual parts for so-called face shields using a 3D model provided. Precisely fitting plastic components for face protection such as headbands and chin parts are created. The transparent plastic film in between - the actual protection - is cut with lasers, which are normally used for the construction of models in the architecture department of the university of applied sciences, reports the FH Dortmund.
As much as possible!
There is a high demand for face shields in the clinics, emphasizes Paul-Andreas Maurer from the mechanical engineering department and lecturer for building materials technology in the architecture department at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences. "We produce here according to the motto: as much as possible", continues Maurer. The university of applied sciences can currently create around 300 sets per week. Much of this is handled by the high-performance 3D printer in the additive manufacturing laboratory.
The 3D printer used is extremely fast, produces large quantities and at the same time saves resources, explains the expert. Matthias Krause, who works as a research assistant at the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory with the 3D printer, is currently working on increasing the capacities for printing face shields even further.
80 protective masks in eleven hours
In total, a print job with 80 Face Shields at the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences takes around eleven hours. "That sounds like a long time, but it is actually very quick," said the university of applied sciences. As soon as the components have cooled, they are then blasted with glass beads to clean the surface and all individual parts are then handed over to the clinics, where they are first sterilized and then assembled. The Ruhrlandklinik in Essen and the Klinikum Dortmund are currently supplied.
Face shields could be reused
"We are very pleased that with the technical equipment of our laboratories and the commitment of our scientific staff, we can help to better protect the medical staff and nursing staff in the hospitals," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Schwick, Rector of the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences. In contrast to simple medical respiratory masks, the medical protective shields also offer the advantage that they can be used, disinfected and reused for longer. (fp)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- University of Applied Sciences Dortmund: Corona protective masks from the 3D printer of the Dortmund University of Applied Sciences (published April 7, 2020), fh-dortmund.de