The News: In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, 3D printing is proving to be good at solving problems. HP 3D printing technology — offering solutions that range from hands-free doors, to facemasks and ventilators — HP’s 3D printing abilities are being accelerated in order to help medical professionals working on the front lines. More than 1,000 3D printed parts have already been delivered to local hospitals near Palo Alto and HP’s 3D R&D centers in Barcelona, Spain; Corvallis, Oregon; San Diego, Vancouver and Washington are collaborating with partners around the world in efforts to increase production. Initial applications being validated and finalized for industrial production include face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers, and respirator parts. HP is also coordinating with government, health, and industry agencies in numerous countries to ensure a synchronized and effective approach. Read more at HP.
HP 3D Printing — HP Steps Up 3D Initiatives During Pandemic
Analyst Take: The tech industry is being looked to for production and innovation during this time of COVID-19. The sense of urgency and overwhelming need for medical equipment in mass quantities is helping to fast-track ideas and production in 3D printing technology — and HP 3D printing solutions are front and center. HP has been mobilizing its 3D printing teams and ramping up production capacity to help deliver these missional critical parts needed to fight COVID-19.
HP 3D Printing Applications and Parts
HP’s 3D printed applications and parts include: Hands-Free Door Opener. The adapter allows for easy and more sanitary opening with an elbow. Mask Adjuster. Many hospital staff are required to wear masks for long periods of time. This clasp is designed to improve comfort and alleviate associated ear pain. Face Shields. The Brackets that hold the shield and comfortably fit the wearer are a critical component. Field Ventilator. 3D printed parts for a mechanical bag valve mask (BVM) that is designed for use as a short-term emergency ventilation of COVID-19 patients. FFP3 Face Mask. HP is validating several hospital-grade face masks and expects them to be available shortly.
HP 3D Printing as a Service (3DaaS)
These 3D printing efforts by HP come as the company has recently been placing emphasis on its 3D as-a-service (3DaaS), an all-inclusive 3D printing solution that comes complete with the HP Jet Fusion 340 3D printer along with service, training and support, aimed specifically at small to medium-sized customers.
HP Isn’t Alone in this Initiative, the Siemens AM Network is Also Playing a Vital Role
HP isn’t alone in its efforts to step up 3D printing initiatives. At the same time, Siemens is making its Additive Manufacturing (AM) Network, along with its 3D printers, available to the global medical community to speed design and production of medical components during this global pandemic. The Siemens AM Network connects users, designers, and 3D-print service providers to enable faster and simpler production of spare parts for machines like ventilators. The Siemens AM Network is available globally and covers the entire value chain — from upload and simulation, to checking the design up to the printing process, and associated services. Doctors, hospitals, and organizations in need of medical devices, as well as designers and service providers with medically certified printing capacities can register for free access to the Siemens AM Network.
What’s Ahead for 3D Technology?
HD 3D printing technology, the company’s ramped-up efforts with 3D initiatives during this pandemic, and efforts by Siemens and others in the industry, shows the rapid acceleration that can be possible, borne of necessity, in the tech industry. My prediction is this will create a greater appreciation for the capabilities that come with 3D printing and will make it more ubiquitous for everyday use cases in the future. Like other aspects in life, it will be interesting to see what becomes the new normal after this pandemic is over. In manufacturing, I think 3D printing will become the new normal for many more products used in the medical field, as well as other verticals.
Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.