How Do We Utilize 3D Printing Perth Industry to Help in Addressing Shortages Related to COVID-19?

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The birthplace of the COVID-19 disease was in Wuhan, China. The first officially reported outbreak for it was reported to the authorities on December 8, 2019.  On a global scale, the number of afflicted patients afflicted with this disease is growing exponentially. As of March 27, 2020, the death exceeded 27, 300 fatalities. 

As of this writing, the death count has exceeded 812,812 and counting. Meanwhile, there is a growing concern around the world, due to the insufficient supply for face shields, testing kits, ventilator valves, and N95 respirator masks. Besides those essentials, there is also an imminent shortage of supplies for personal protective equipment or PPEs. 

One important thing that this pandemic rendered us all to realize is that we need to have in place an adequate production and distribution of PPEs. They are essentially important during trying times like this. 

The 3D printing Perth industry, or the additive manufacturing sector in general, can be tapped into for a solution to this imminent scarcity of PPEs and other essential COVID-19 equipment. 3-dimensional printing is a robotic and highly adjustable platform that allows us to have a tailored deposition of biomaterials guided by a high-caliber computer-aided design system. 

Such a high-end software application is substantial in formulating layer-by-layer custom designs under controlled composition and architecture.  

Face Masks

N95 respirator masks offer us 2 advantages over other types of face masks such as paper, surgical, or the commonly used nowadays cloth-type face masks. 

They offer greater efficiency at filtering (95% filtering efficiency) 0.3-µm airborne particles and,

To ensure an adequate seal, they are fit tested for users. This way, small droplets won’t stand a chance of ingressing anywhere around mask edges. 

The office of the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends the use of N95 masks, but more so for the health care professionals who are delegated with handling and care of the COVID-19 patients.  

3D printing Perth technique can be taken advantage of to come up with custom seal designs that will help enhance a face mask’s level of comfort and fit. To make this possible, 3D laser scanning can be used to exactly scan facial topography and parameters.  

Face Shields

Commonly used material for face shield production includes polyvinyl chloride, polycarbonate and polyester, and several other synthetic polymers. These biomaterials come in a transparent form, thus providing your end-products with high-optical clarity. Besides, they are also lightweight, the reason they become preferred material to use for this purpose. 

Polymer materials are easy to use and can be printed seamlessly using 3D technology. The best part about these materials is they can be custom designed to the specific requirements of health care professionals who are attending to the needs of COVID-19 patients.  

Ventilator Valves

These are accessories, attachments whose main purpose is to help in facilitating the delivery of oxygen at fixed amounts for patients who are afflicted with acute respiratory distress. This also includes COVID-19 patients. 

Additive manufacturing technology can be utilized for the production of ventilator valves via a filament extrusion system. This is sometimes referred to as the powder polymer-laser bed fusion process which is capable of printing single-use valve sets. 

3D printing machines can be used for custom designing the different valve elements with the use of biomaterials such as polysulfone and polyamide, silicone rubber, and polycarbonate.  

While all of us are standing witness to how the COVID-19 outbreak evolved right before our very eyes, the gravity  PPE shortage is becoming even more serious. 3D printing Perth industry, together with the whole additive manufacturing universe, this sector can be tapped into to help resolve these deficiencies at the earliest.