Companies, organizations and individuals continue to attempt to lend support to the COVID-19 pandemic supply effort. We will be providing regular updates about these initiatives where necessary in an attempt to ensure that the 3D printing community is aware of what is being done, what can be done and what shouldn’t be done to provide coronavirus aid.
Essentium, Inc. is now using its technology to 3D print reusable protective face masks to fulfill supply needs in its hometown of Pflugerville, Texas. The mask frame is made from thermoplastic urethane branded as Essentium TPU74D and is meant to be easy to clean and used in conjunction with single-use filtration media. It is meant for general, non-medical use during the COVID-19 outbreak based on FDA Emergency Use Authorization and is hosted on the National Institute of Health repository.
In response to an order from the city’s Pflugerville Community Development Corp, the company has so far delivered 30 units for the city’s police and fire department. By next week, it hopes to provide a total of 500 masks and thinks that it can ramp up production to 5,000 pieces weekly.
Meanwhile, Shapeways is producing face fields that are being used by medical crews. So far, the 3D printing bureau has made 1,100 face shields. The company is requesting $20 donations to make the shields, but will contribute its own funds to make every fifth shield produced.
Siemens already announced that it would be opening up its additive manufacturing network at no cost to designers and suppliers to produce supplies for the COVID-19 outbreak. The German giant has now provided a progress report on its efforts, including the fact that it is working with manufacturers to adapt and speed up production of pharmaceuticals and protective gear. In particular, it has ramped up its manufacturing of blood-gas monitoring, portable X-ray, ultrasound and CT systems. It has also increased its deployment of virtual training and remotely managed imaging systems.
Others participating in complementing the supply efforts include BEGO, a digital dentistry specialist that relies on 3D printing and CAD/CAM to produce utensils for the prevention of infection. The company has opened up design files for modular face shield frames, breathing brackets and other parts, while also offering its production services in Bremen, Germany to medical facilities to fabricate any parts that may be necessary. For instance, BEGO Implant Systems has 3D printed protective eyewear and donated it to the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Dentists for distribution among local hospitals and clinics.
Smaller firms are continuing to provide their own services to produce face shields, including Brooklyn-based 3D printing company Makelab. The shield itself is made out of plastic dividers and presentation covers to attach to 3D-printed brackets. On the flipside, Solvay, which has extensive resources as a large chemical company, is working with Boeing to create face shields made from its own transparent thermoplastic films.
The materials from which they are made, Radel PPSU and Udel PSU, can be sterilized for medical use. Additionally, Solvay is working on 3D printing parts for ventilators, CAPRs, PAPRs, and surgical and N95 mask parts, as well as lubricants for oxygen machines. It is also making sanitizing gels. Boeing is moving some of its manufacturing operations to make face shields at its sites in Missouri, California, Arizona, Alabama and Pennsylvania. It plans to use its cargo aircraft to transport supplies to healthcare facilities.
Given all of the efforts by companies large and small, along with helpful Makers and hobbyists, it will be interesting to determine to the extent to which their work has aided in preventing the spread of the virus, if it is finally contained. How this analysis can be achieved is difficult to know, but it is something that we will surely be considering.
The post 3D Printing and COVID-19, April 4, 2020 Update appeared first on 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing.
The railway industry is one of the more exciting fields to watch the adoption of additive manufacturing, as various companies begin deploying the technology for use in the production of on-demand spare parts. One of the leaders in this trend has been Siemens Mobility Services, which already worked with Stratasys to print maintenance parts for the German and UK rail industries. Now, the German multinational is expanding its rail maintenance operations to Russia.
Siemens has bought two Stratasys Fortus 450mc systems to produce spare parts for its Russian business, just as Siemens Mobility has been awarded a contract to build 13 high-speed Velaro trains for RZD, a Russian train company. Siemens will not only construct the vehicles but maintain and service them over the next 30 years. The contract is third Velaro order from RZD, which already has a fleet of 16 trains in its high speed rail (HSR) line, Sapsan, which runs from Saint Petersburg to Moscow.
Siemens has already installed the two new Fortus systems in its Siemens Mobility Russia locations in St. Petersburg and Moscow. There, the 3D printers will be used to execute the German multinational’s Easy Sparovation Part network in Russia, in which 3D print parts from digital inventory allow for in-house production of spare parts. With the new train contract, this means that Siemens will be servicing 16 existing trains and an additional 13 over the next 30 years using AM technology.
According to the conglomerate, the use of 3D printing has allowed Siemens Mobility Russia to exhibit a fleet availability record of over 99 percent.
“These availability figures would be physically impossible to achieve through external part sourcing and traditional manufacturing techniques alone, but Stratasys’ FDM 3D printers gives us the capability to cost-effectively produce the parts in-house, partially eliminating the need for warehousing or tools for a selected range of items,” said Alexey Fedoseev, Head of Customer Services, Siemens Mobility Russia. “We have already seen the success of the Siemens Mobility ‘Easy Sparovation Part’ business in Germany, where this technology has provided us time-per-part savings of up to 95% compared to traditional manufacturing methods.”
As long as the technology used to make the parts is up to the task, digital inventory has numerous benefits over physical storage. It reduces the space needed to maintain a physical supply, while also making it possible to deliver replacement parts on-demand, on-site, and quickly, regardless of the age of the equipment being maintained. In the case of a train car 30 years from now, the physical parts may not even exist any longer; however, the use of a digital inventory renders the concept of obsolete parts obsolete.
“The manufacture and delivery of an additional 13 new Velaro trains will see us work on multiple vehicles over a long period of time, and within very strict time constraints. As a result, 3D printing makes for a perfect add-on to aid our production and provides us with the flexibility to replace and create parts ourselves, anytime they are needed,” Fedoseev said.
The Fortus 450mc systems have the ability to 3D print using industrial-grade materials that can operate in the extreme temperatures that Russia is known for. Stratasys also offers materials that meet the regulatory certifications necessary for 3D printing interior cabin parts.
According to Grand View Research, the global railroads market was valued at $508.5 billion in 2016 and is expected to hit 829.3 billion by 2025. Growth is due in part to the continued industrialization of countries like India and China, as well as the global electrification of transportation infrastructure in the face of the climate crisis.
While the U.S. has been continually thwarted in its attempts to establish any real HSR lines, China’s HSR system has become the most extensive on the planet. With that in mind, there is little doubt that the U.S. will eventually establish some HSR as it reduces its dependency on fossil fuels. Whether or not it will be able to do so before our ecosystem is beyond repair is another story.
As HSR grows, so too will rail maintenance. Within that market, the railway maintenance machinery segment was valued at $4.24 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $7.44 million by 2025, based on research from 360marketupdates.com. It’s highly likely that this subsegment will feature AM.
This is not just because of Siemens’ use of the technology in the space, such as the aforementioned maintenance programs in Germany and the U.K., but Deutsche Bahn is a part of a larger Mobility goes Additive network dedicated to the use of AM in rail and other industrial sectors. Dutch Railway is also using 3D printing for the production of spare parts.
In other words, not only is the railway industry growing, but so is 3D printing spare parts for trains, which will naturally segue into producing end parts. This is indicated by a recent announcement by a 2018 Wabtec. GE Transportation merged with industrial train part manufacturer Wabtec in 2018, which then bought GE’s H2 metal binder jetting system with the plan to use it in the production of up to 250 components by 2025. At that point, Wabtec won’t be the only company 3D printing end parts for the railway industry. Manufacturers globally will be saying it’s “all aboard” for additive.