Company Sets Goal to Combat Coronavirus by Producing 20,000 Shields Per Week
CHICAGO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — March 30, 2020 — Azul 3D, a leading-edge 3D printing company, is now helping to combat the COVID-19 crisis by printing much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE). The company’s 3D printing technique, “high-area rapid printing” (HARP), will be producing medical face shields for healthcare workers at a rate of 1,000 per day per printer, in an effort to protect essential workers against COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.
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CTO David Walker models a HARP-generated medical face shield, which Azul 3D will start to mass-produce to help with the COVID crisis (Photo: Business Wire)
“Coronavirus is taking the lives of citizens and healthcare workers in the U.S. and countries around the globe, as hospitals face a shortage of healthcare equipment. We have a technology that allows us to manufacture products quickly, especially in a time of crisis,” said David Walker, CTO and co-founder. “Our technology is like nothing else in the marketplace and we’re committed to using it for this essential cause. By rapidly printing face shields and potentially other critical components, we’re ready to take on this fight to slow the impact of Coronavirus. We have an opportunity to assist our healthcare workers as they face unprecedented challenges, by taking advantage of our great team and the technology we have developed.”
To meet its initial goal of 1,000 components per day on its one prototype printer, Azul 3D will be running the printer 24/7. Volunteer team members — designated as “essential” workers during the State of Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order — are working in six-hour shifts to keep the production cycle continuously ongoing. Leading the face shield printing, the Azul 3D team has partnered with a local manufacturing company to provide the laser-cut clear plastic shields. A third partner is sanitizing and packaging the face shield components into easy-to-assemble kits, which will be supplied to area hospitals. All face shields can be washed and reused.
“Even fleets of 3D printers are having difficulty meeting demand for face shields because the need is so enormous,” said Chad Mirkin, Chairman of the Board. “But HARP is so fast and powerful that we can put a meaningful dent in that demand.”
Azul 3D unveiled its new 3D printing technique called “high-area rapid printing” (HARP) last fall announcing a 13-foot-tall printer with a 2.5 square-foot print bed that can print about half a yard in an hour — a record throughput for this class of 3D printing. But now, in the face of a national crisis, the company has decided to speed up the production of the beta printers—while also leveraging their prototype printer—to print medical face shields in the short term, to reach 20,000 shields per week within the next few months.
ABOUT AZUL 3D
Azul 3D is a leading-edge 3D printing company that is transforming the 3D printing industry. Initially developed at Northwestern University, Azul 3D’s co-founders developed a technique, “high-area rapid printing” (HARP), which produces a record throughput for the 3D printing field. The company is shattering previous constraints of 3D printing, with its proprietary printer that is capable of manufacturing parts at production speeds, regardless of size, with a throughput easily outpacing its competitors. Azul 3D is enabling manufacturers to go from prototype to mass-manufacturing on one streamlined platform. Because of its speed, Azul 3D can print critical materials in times of crisis and is currently using its technology to produce much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE). In combination with its industrial-grade materials, it offers the opportunity for higher throughput, limitless scale, and just-in-time mass production of diverse, highly customized products.
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