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Sandvik provides support to protect healthcare workers in the battle against Covid-19 by using 3D-printing

Sandvik provides support to protect medical personnel in the battle against Covid-19 by e.g. 3D-printing of frames for face shields.
“Sandvik would never compromise when it comes to keeping our employees safe, and right now, we can help protect medical personnel by keeping them safe and able to help those infected with Covid-19. Our lives depend on these medical professionals and we cannot let their safety be compromised while they are saving lives”, says André Larsson, Technician at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is in short supply around the world in the light of the corona crisis. The unprecedented times have seen many companies be called into help the production of medical supplies and PPE, to a degree that has not been seen since World War II.

Also in Sweden and in the UK, the hospitals reached out and asked for help a few weeks ago.

”I discovered via various Facebook groups covering 3D printing, how people started to print frames for so called face shields. Via one of these groups I got into contact with a responsible person at ‘Region Gävleborg’ and our local hospitals, and I told them that Sandvik wanted to contribute with 3D-printing of frames for face shields to help protect their medical staff”, says André Larsson.

‘Region Gävleborg’ and the hospitals were of course extremely grateful for the support. Face shields help protect the wearer's face from body fluids and can be worn in conjunction with protective masks. The good thing with the 3D printed frames is that they can be disinfected and re-used, helping protect medical staff and teams over and over again. The transparent plastic sheet, which forms the shield, can be cleaned or replaced if it becomes contaminated. Traditional, old ‘overhead projector film’ works very well for this purpose.

A true team-work!

“The construction is actually brilliant in its simplicity – and we have plastic 3D printers at our Additive Manufacturing Centers in Sandviken and Stockholm in Sweden. But I also reached out to the Rock Tools Division here in Sandviken, as well as to Sandvik’s own upper secondary school; the Göranssonska School – and to Rapatac (an activity center for children and young people in Sandviken, sponsored by Sandvik), since I got to know that they also have plastic printers located here in Sandviken”, says André Larsson.

Now they are all printing frames for face shields to help protect healthcare workers in the Sandviken-Gävle region.

“It is a true teamwork. We have also managed to get hold of more than 3 000 overhead projector films, which means that we can deliver complete face shields to the hospitals”, says André Larsson.

At Sandvik Additive Manufacturing’s AM Center in Västberga, Stockholm, Tobias Gyllenflykt, Carl Dössling, Johan Sundström and John de Flon also got the same idea to use their plastic 3D printer to support hospitals in the Stockholm region.

“Sandvik always advocates ‘safety first’ for us employees and makes sure that we wear the right personal protective equipment. Therefore, I think it really feels like the right thing to do to contribute in protecting the medical staff in this difficult situation. Our healthcare resources are doing heroic efforts every day to fight the coronavirus – and we have to support them in every way we can”, Carl Dössling says.

Support from Sandvik in Neath, Wales

Sandvik Additive Manufacturing also has a metal powder unit in Neath, Wales, UK. They have recently modified their respiratory protective equipment requirements – moving to non-disposable masks so that they are able to continue production in a safe way, whilst at the same time free up all the surplus disposable masks and donate these to healthcare workers at local hospitals caring for Covid-19 patients.

The unit in Neath has also received orders for fine metal powder which will be used for making injection molding tools to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical staff helping those infected with Covid-19.

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