The 3D-printer of the mechatronics lab and the Mechatronics Innovation Lab (MIL) of UiA is printing large quantities of protective face masks for health care professionals of Sørlandet Hospital. Now they are looking for more partners who can contribute.
“We urgently need more protective masks. We have the technology and the recipe, but we cannot cover the need of the market. That is why we are looking for more partners from the mechatronic sector who can contribute with their 3D printers, says Bernt Inge Øhrn, General Manager of Mechatronics Innovation Lab AS (MIL).
Last week, Sørlandet Hospital (SSHF) contacted MIL about their need for protective face masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 by respiratory droplets. After some tests with different types of designs, SSHF confirmed the correct design and function this week. The masks are now in production at the MIL lab and in the mechatronics lab of UiA, which usually function as learning arenas for students.
MIL is situated at UiA Campus Grimstad. It is a national centre for innovation, pilot projects, and technologic qualification within mechatronics and other closely related areas of expertise. The lab principally focusses on the offshore industry. Both labs contain a great variety of equipment, among others the 3D printers that are now being used to print protective face masks.
“We are pleased to have this technology so that we can help out during this pandemic”, says Øhrn.
Protective face masks prevent the transmission of the virus by respiratory droplets. These are highly in demand right now. Sørlandet hospital and the municipality of Grimstad already ordered 1000 pieces each.
“There will be more orders”, says Øhrn.
Their machines are among the most advanced in Norway. However, their productive capacity is about 30 pieces a day. Therefore, they hope that others will be able to contribute with their technology as well.
Øhrn points out that it does not require a very advanced printer to print these protective face masks.
“One of the advantages of these masks is that they are easy to print and only require basic equipment. It is the volume that creates the greatest challenge right now”, he says.
Those who would like to contribute with printing can contact the Head of MIL for more information.
Øyvind Holme at SSHF is leading the planning of equipment and medicine to the hospital during the coronavirus outbreak. He is grateful that the 1000 face masks were ordered from a local supplier.
“We have a secured a continuous delivery of face masks, and that gives us a sense of security in this situation. We risk a lack of such equipment, as we do not know how much we will need in the long run. Now, we are well-prepared”, he says.
The department for protective equipment at SSHF has approved the face masks, which stretch below the chin. A user instruction is being prepared, and soon they will be tested by the healthcare professionals.
Contact information Bernt Inge Øhrn:
Telephone: 908 71 654