3D printing in function of fighting the Covid-19


As the Coronavirus pandemic is spreading globally, we notice that countries are applying different restrictions regarding travel restrictions, social distance measures, and work-from-home rules. Even the health systems of the most developed countries become overwhelmed by the COVID-19 virus. The shortage of medical supplies has become one of the main problems.

In severe cases of respiratory problems, patients will need mechanical respirators to assume the role of the lungs. One of the problems that countries are facing at the moment is the lack of supplies of respirators and spare parts, as well as the lack of protective masks for both citizens and medical staff.

Many companies are putting their resources at disposal to help address these issues. The technology of 3D printing that allows digital design of the parts and their printing using a machine that makes them layer by layer and is ideal for production in emergency cases because it is fast, cheap and efficient. Companies that use 3D printers in their day-to-day business are trying to find ways that could take advantage of 3D printing benefits to print fan valves, breathing filters and buckles for face masks. It also introduces the printing of brand new parts such as plastic door handle adapters that allow you to open the door with your elbow and thus prevent the virus from spreading further. Also, numerous social media users share 3D models for printing customizable face masks and form fan building groups using 3D printers and other readily available materials.

In order to make their contribution Faculty of Electrical Engineering of University of Montenegro, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Center Tehnopolis Niksic and Science-technology park Montenegro with the support of Ministry of science of Montenegro came up with the idea to utilize the capacities of the 3D printers at their disposal and start printing certain segments of protective equipment and spare parts that will be made available to the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro. It was decided to start printing prototypes based on the 3D models available: respirator masks along with tubing, HEPA filter protective masks, and visors. Upon verification of the components by the Institute of Public Health, the partners mentioned above will be engaged to the fullest extent to utilize all their available capacities to provide a number of these items to the Institute of Public Health.

As in the previous period, Faculty of Electrical Engineering of University of Montenegro implemented a number of projects in the field of 3D printing, doc. dr Milena Djukanovic, and fourth year student Zdravko Maras, used the knowledge and resources available to create specific prototypes of models of respirator masks and spare parts, thus contributing to solving the new situation.

The Executive Director of the Science and Technology Park of Montenegro Velibor Boskovic thanked colleagues from the Innovation and Entrepreneurial Center Tehnopolis Niksic who worked hard to produce certain models of protective equipment,  donated to makers by Prusa Research, that will be made available to the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro for analysis. At the same time, STP MN and IEC Tehnopolis will use their international contacts to find other alternative solutions for individual health system needs, all in coordination with the Institute of Public Health of Montenegro.

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