An Irish tech company has designed a 3D printable protective visor that could help to bridge the global shortfall of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the largest 3D printing companies in the country, Calt Dynamics, has already rowed in to offer its prototype to a Dublin hospital in need of more protective gear and is now sharing its design with a major US manufacturer.
The company, based in Network Enterprise Park in Kilcoole, Co Wicklow, began working on the prototype visor in response to a shortage of protective equipment for healthcare staff globally as the Covid-19 virus continued to spread.
Ross Lawless, CEO of Calt Dynamics, said the company was happy to help any organisation in need of protective visors during the Covid-19 crisis.
“Last week we saw there was a lack of PPE around the world so we thought it would be a good idea to put some designs down to see if we could make a 3D printable version,” Mr Lawless told the Irish Examiner.
“We design and develop 3D printers and we also have a service for custom parts so we’re in a good position to be able to help."
In recent days the company donated prototypes of its 3D printed visors to a Dublin hospital following an appeal for protective equipment on social media.
“We’re waiting to hear back from the hospital and we’re willing to donate as many as we possibly can and do the rest at cost price. We want to make sure the hospital is happy with everything and we’ll liaise with them before we start producing more,” Mr Lawless said.
The company, which was established in 2014 and has a subsidiary in Connecticut in the US, has reworked its design to keep costs down and maximise the number of visors produced in every 3D print run. It hopes to produce the visors for as little as a couple of euro.
“We’re putting in the design work to keep the costs down low so we’re hoping to produce them for a couple of euros each,” Mr Lawless explained.
“We’re working to optimise the designs so we can pump them out. We’re aiming to be able to make thousands of visors. Once we get the design finalised we can pump them out as needed. We have the equipment here to make the entire face shield itself and even sterilise them,” he added.
Given the shortage of protective gear globally, the company is sharing its design with Stanley Black and Decker, a major US manufacturer, and is also hoping to assist the Spanish government.
“We're going to pass the design on to Stanley Black and Decker in the USA. They have huge production capacity. When we make the designs available, hopefully people with 3D printers in different regions can help out wherever they are needed,” Mr Lawless said, adding the Spanish government had also contacted the company for help with the supply of protective visors.
The company, he said, was delighted to give a hand in such challenging times: “We’re donating our time for this. We’re not going to charge anyone for designing this. It’s good to be able to help. If there was ever a time to help this is it. It’s really critical.”