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HP ropes in global 3D printing for virus response

From masks to ventilators, in South Africa and globally, vitally needed parts are being produced where they are needed



HP and its global digital manufacturing community are mobilising their 3D printing teams, technology, experience, and production capacity to help deliver critical parts in the effort to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. HP has produced more than 35,000 parts to date and growing, with partners and customers producing tens of thousands more.

In South Africa, HP is collaborating with partner Mentis 3D in Johannesburg to increase production of 3D designs to meet the most urgent needs. 

Initial applications being validated and finalised for industrial production include face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers, and respirator parts. HP says it is also coordinating with government, health, and industry agencies to ensure a synchronised and effective approach. 

“HP and our digital manufacturing partner are working non-stop in the battle against this unprecedented virus,” says Elisabeth Moreno, vice president and MD of HP Africa. “We are collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs, and begin 3D printing them. 

“Our deepest appreciation goes to our employees, partners, customers, and members of our community for their tireless efforts to support the medical professionals making a difference on the front lines. We are all in this together and it’s together that we will find the right solutions.”

 Andrew Mentis, CEO of Mentis 3D, says: “Mentis 3D is working with partners to ensure healthcare providers receive much-needed PPE and parts required for the fight against Covid-19. We are the only 3D print farm in Africa with the technology that can deliver cost-effective and large-scale production runs.”

He says the company’s full range of HP MJF machines is currently running 24/7, producing high volumes of medical materials that are needed. 

“We are able to provide these services throughout Africa, so we encourage neighbouring countries to get in touch with us to assist with their requirements at this time.”

3D Printing Parts to Help Contain COVID-19

HP’s global network of manufacturing partners is working to help make 3D printed parts available in any region around the world.

Some of the first applications being validated and produced include:

  • Hands-Free Door Opener:  Door handles are among the most germ-infested objects in houses, hospitals, factories, and elderly homes.  This 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:  Face shields are one of the highest-need personal protection items.  Brackets to hold the shield and comfortably fit the wearer are a critical component.

Many more applications are in the testing and validation phase and are expected to begin production soon, including:

  • 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. This simplified design enables a robust and less-complex device, facilitating its rapid production and assembly.
  • FFP3 Face Masks:  Effective protective gear is needed for medical providers to treat the volume of expected COVID-19 patients.  HP is validating several hospital-grade face masks and expects them to be available shortly.

Making Part Designs Available

HP and its partners will be making the validated design files for many of the parts that do not require complex assembly freely available at this website for download. 

3D designers and innovators who wish to join the battle against COVID-19 can contribute new applications and ideas at this website

Anyone who needs support with application development or would like to order parts can submit request here.