In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Adia partnered with Shawn London, MD, FACEP, Program Director at the University of Connecticut Integrated Residency in Emergency Medicine in the effort to create hundreds of 3D printed face masks. These masks helped to ensure that healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic had plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE). UCONN works closely with Hartford Healthcare to provide exceptional medical treatment and care. Adia collaborated with Dr. London on research and development to create masks that would be durable, comfortable, and cost-effective.
Adia discovered that UCONN had an internal effort to print re-usable plastic face masks because they were not able to receive enough N95 masks. Kevin Williams, Director of Engineering Solutions at Adia, reached out to Dr. London when he heard about the effort on a local TV broadcast. Nick Gondek, Director of Additive Manufacturing, created build files for the various sizes of masks. Adia began printing masks for the effort on the RIZE, Inc. printers they had in-house.
The masks were printed using the RIZE, Inc. XRize Color Printer and Rize One Monochrome printer using Rizium One, which is a USP Class VI certified medical-grade thermoplastic. The Rizium material is stronger than acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, which ensures that the masks will be able to withstand long-term use. Emitting zero VOCs during the printing process, RIZE, Inc. manufactures the only 3D printer to be certified for health and environmental safety under the UL 2940 standard. These parts can be handled immediately after being printed, and while these masks were printed in white, can include a full color logo or design. The material is safe for contact with skin and has a smooth finish that does not require sanding. No post-processing was required, the supports break off easily after printing requiring no chemicals or clean-up before use.
3D printed masks can be a practical way to secure PPE when demands are higher than usual due to COVID-19, and the potential for this demand to increase is still unknown as Fall approaches.
When asked how the process works in an interview with Eyewitness News Channel 3, Dr. London said, “If you imagine the way a conventional inkjet printer works, it lays down the layer of ink. The same thing happens in the 3D printer, but instead of laying down just one layer of ink, it lays down a layer of plastic over itself. As you print hundreds of layers you can build up larger items. We’ve been responding to the need to use 3D printers to build things like face shields and mask protectors to help with the coronavirus response.”
RIZE, Inc. provided Adia with filament to use for the masks at no charge. Print times for the mask sets were 12-15 hours per set of two. Over several weeks Adia sent approximately 50 mask sets to UCONN to use at no charge. These mask parts were able to be cleaned and sterilized for re-use, so this solution provided ongoing protection whereas paper masks are intended for only one use.
Adia is a nationally certified woman-owned business offering custom engineering services and end-to-end additive manufacturing solutions. Adia is a proud partner of 3D systems and are one of three exclusive 3D distributors in the United States for LOCTITE 3D Printing Resins.
We pride ourselves in carrying over 120 years of combined experience in the 3D printing industry and have developed unique programs that assist our clients with the implementation and/or improvement of additive manufacturing in their business. Through these programs, we can identify the best course of action along with a detailed plan to guide businesses on their way to reaching their highest 3D potential. Not only do we provide the machines, but we also strive to create ease before and after implementation or enhanced continued usage through our excellent support and next-day service!
No matter where you are on your 3D printing journey, we’re here to help. With clients ranging from local businesses to Fortune 500 companies, we are confident that we can develop a custom 3D solution for any business in any industry.