Battle against COVID-19

Digital Printing

The digital printing industry’s battle against COVID-19  

The Covid-19 pandemic is keeping countries around the world in suspense. As a result of the coronavirus crisis, many digital printers have suffered losses. As trade fairs have been cancelled and shops have closed, the production of trade fair materials and POS materials has largely come to a standstill. Digital printers, however, can help fight the virus. 3D printing is proving to be particularly useful. With the construction of acrylic face shields and floor graphics and stickers to clarify social distancing rules, new business opportunities have become available.

 

Northern Italy has suffered immensely from Covid-19 with the immediate lack of ventilators exacerbating the situation. That is why Dr. Renato Favero, former Head of the Brescia hospital, came up with the idea to build makeshift ventilators from diving masks. He partnered with Isinnova, a consulting firm in the industrial engineering sector. They contacted Decathlon as they sell the Easybreath snorkel mask, which could serve as the foundation of these ventilators. Decathlon immediately provided the CAD drawing of the snorkel mask. A valve was developed to make it possible to connect the mask to ventilators commonly used in hospitals. Within a few days, the CAD data for the valve and the instructions was created and published.

Isinnova and FabLab Brescia developed the ‘Charlotte’ valve, which can be used to convert a Decathlon schorchel mask into a makeshift ventilator. Photo: Isinnova

In essence, the valve can be produced by any 3D printer. However, as 3D printers that are designed for home use are typically very slow, the Italian 3D start-up company Weerg was approached. Founder Matteo Rigamonti commented: “We contacted Isinnova, and thanks to our HP Multi Jet Fusion 5210 printer, we were able to print some of the 500 required PA12 nylon valves. PA12 nylon is a material that can be used in healthcare.” Matteo further commented: “We have 50 quintals of nylon PA12 for 3D printing solutions that can help our country cope with this dramatic situation. Because of this we have sent emails to several healthcare companies who of course will only have to cover material costs.”

Face protection with Massivit printers

In addition to the lack of ventilators, a lack of protective equipment for medical staff to protect themselves arose worldwide as well. The Israeli 3D printer manufacturer Massivit has provided its customers with a sample file as well as with instructions to build high-quality face shields made of PE. The CAD file is based on a design by Twan Kerckhofs of Art Nzo, a Flemish 3D printer who works with the Massivit printers. As the Massivit printers are large in size, the mounts for the face shields could be produced in a considerably short time. On its homepage, Massivit has placed a video about the process. Instructions to all its global customers have been made available via their homepage as well.

Also available on video is the production of Mara Disinfect. Marabu Inks is now offering its new WHO-recipe disinfectant that can be used for both hands and surface disinfection. A large portion of the funds from the production of the disinfectant is donated to hospitals and similar medical facilities in the Ludwigsburg region.

Digital printers with experience in textiles and digital cutting are also producing masks. Masks for the mouth and nose can help curb transmission of the virus via droplet infection. According to their own data, the Essen-based brand specialists Weiss + more currently produce approximately 8,000 masks per day and deliver packages for social institutions such as the Kinderherz Foundation as well.

 

Graphics & stickers

With the construction of acrylic face shields and floor graphics and stickers to clarify the social distancing rules, new business opportunities have become available. Foto Fabrics, for example, provides shops in the area with free information stickers for contactless payment.

Hope in difficult times

For the digital printing industry, the Covid-19 crisis represents a serious cut that is likely to change the face of the industry to a large degree. At the same time, the local and flexible production opportunities that are appearing in the factories are of great help at a time when global supply chains are stalling. It is therefore quite likely that for some companies, completely new niches will be opened up in the future.

This article first appeared at www.FESPA.com/news and media

 

3D specialist Weerg made the valve ‘Charlotte’ with an HP Multi Jet Fusion 5210 printer. Photo: Weerg

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Stitch & Print International appears four times a year. In addition free digital EMagazines and newsletters are published. The trade journal is written for professional embroiderers, textile printers (screen printers and digital printers) and garment decorators.

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