How can we channel the expertise that exists in our organisation to help overcome the current crisis? Like many other businesses, the Bechtle Group’s 3D tech specialists with SolidLine were asking themselves that very question. Their answer was as creative as it was practical: We’ll make products that healthcare professionals need the most right now. SolidLine’s recently opened Innovation Centre in Hamm in the north-west of Germany has thus been repurposed to support the production of 3D-printed respirators and valves, among other things.
Besides demonstrating product development technology and related processes, the Innovation Centre also 3D prints custom products and components for customers. “We are doing commissions to counter supply and production bottlenecks that our customers are experiencing at the moment. Demand is especially high in the medical, healthcare, machinery, automotive, aviation and aerospace industries”, says Mike Gregor, who heads SolidLine’s 3D printing business.
The company’s manufacturing partner, 3D Systems, is a pioneer and leading provider of certified print materials for healthcare and medical components. Mike Gregor: “One concrete example would be a project in Italy, where 3D Systems’ printer fleet was used to make urgently needed valves for ventilators. We’re using that same technology here in Hamm.” This means that SolidLine can produce components for face shields in a very short space of time. In addition, the company is able to support the production if respiratory masks, valves, contactless door openers, as well as other small plastic parts used in medical equipment.
“We are able to support customers with materials right where they are needed, and also to balance production bottlenecks of their suppliers. Germany’s federal and state governments are ordering large quantities of respirators, face masks, ventilators, etc. and many of these orders have been placed with our customers,” says Mike Gregor. SolidLine experts consult numerous major medical device manufacturers and have garnered extensive experience in the field. The company is currently approaching customers to offer its own 3D printing capacities. SolidLine also supports a number of other initiatives that pool and coordinate available resources, such as mobilitygoesadditive.org and the Association of German Engineers (VDI).
Mike Gregor, Leiter 3D-Druck
To help us provide support where it is needed the most, we ask all stakeholders such as medical device manufacturers, ministries, government agencies and hospitals to approach us directly with their requirements.
Mike Gregor, Leiter 3D-Druck, SolidLine AG
SolidLine has created a dedicated website for enquiries about the current initiative: www.solidline.de/corona-hilfe
The website enables companies and healthcare organisations that need 3D printed parts now to reach out to SolidLine. Companies that would like to help, e.g. by offering up their own 3D printing capacities, are also invited to get in touch.
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