A Portuguese startup company is 3D printing special protective masks for healthcare workers and sending them to hospitals for free to help in the fight against coronavirus.
Portuguese startup FAN 3D are creating around 30 of the 3D-printed visors every day before shipping them to hospitals and the company says around 50 other 3D printing firms have registered to join the initiative.
FAN 3D spokesman Eurico Assuncao, speaking exclusively to Newsflash, explained that the visors are “not respiratory masks” but have been created primarily to avoid health workers being sneezed on.
Assuncao said the company began making the visors after “a neighbour who is a nurse” said the Setubal Hospital in the city of Setubal in the Lisbon region of Portugal was running out of them.
He said: “We made a couple for them to try, they used it in during a shift and gave us some feedback, we changed it, they gave us some more feedback and we changed it again.
“And now the whole company is producing around 30 per day. All of them are being delivered to hospitals and health centres for free.”
He explained that FAN 3D were then “contacted by other companies and private individuals” with 3D printing capabilities who wanted to create the visors to send them to hospitals.
FAN 3D are now working to organise the network of 3D printers, having sent the file for the visors to them for free, with the hope of producing between “100 and 200 visors per day.”
The community of printers are now working to create a network all over Portugal, and potentially Europe, to be able to supply local hospitals and health centres with the equipment for free.
Assuncao said that 3D printing companies “all over Europe” are working to help fight coronavirus, saying his own firm had spoken to an unnamed Belgium company who are creating door handles which would allow hospital staff to open doors with their arms rather than hands, thus reducing the risk of contamination.
He expressed surprise at how quick the process had moved, saying that the first visors had been made on 19th March, and added that FAN 3D had ordered a new printer to help meet demand.
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