Under the auspices of VSB – Technical University of Ostrava and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, the Center launched a project to support the production of protective equipment for medical professionals. A total of fourteen different university workplaces have engaged in this project and lent 3D printers from their laboratories and the homes of their researchers.
The “printing farm” with the capacity of up to thirty desktop 3D printers has been built on the campus of VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, the Center has already ordered over one hundred kilograms of filament, and a ton of powdered materials, which will be paid for by the Regional Authority of the Moravian-Silesian Region for these purposes, will be on the way to Ostrava. The aim of the project is to supply the shields where they are needed – to hospitals, retirement homes, long-stay hospitals, charities or private surgeries to ensure the health care is running and to protect health professionals in the performance of their work. The university Protolab 3D Printing Center cooperates on the project with the development workshop of IdeaHub of the Moravian-Silesian Innovation Center Ostrava, a.s., which helps with cutting the shields using a laser beam. The daily production capacity of 3D printers is around 255 shields in non-stop operation. “As long as the limited material reserves allow us, we will deliver the shields for free,” says Marek Pagáč on behalf of the Protolab 3D Printing Center.
The Center is also involved in the organized production of adapters using 3D printing. They will serve for the Decathlon Subea masks. Fifty pieces a day are made in Protolab. In parallel, the Center also launched the production of shields for the University Hospital Ostrava, which needs five thousand of them. “We will print from a polymer powder that is certified for skin contact and suitable for healthcare,” explains Petr Štefek. As he admits, negotiations are not easy because, given the current situation, the Center has a limited amount of material. The promised tonne of powder ordered and paid by the Moravian-Silesian Region is already on the way to Ostrava.
In addition to shields, the Center is also working on the production of simplified respirators (half masks), which it also produces from the powdered polymer in a volume of about two hundred pieces a day. The Center also cooperates with the Vice-Rector of VSB – Technical University of Ostrava for Science and Research Jana Kukutschová in the production of sampling sticks for the collection of swabs from the nasal cavity and throat, from which the presence of the virus in the human body is detected. This activity is realized in cooperation with the Moravian-Silesian Region and the Public Health Institute Ostrava.
The capacity of the Protolab 3D Printing Center will be used for approximately ten weeks. VSB – Technical University of Ostrava, in conjunction with the Moravian-Silesian Region, will also ensure the distribution to the necessary places, even to remote parts of the Moravian-Silesian Region. “We are in contact with a group of enthusiasts who have been solving a similar project for several days and preparing a demand website,” concludes Marek Pagáč on behalf of Protolab.