UCF and Orlando Health Partner with Stratasys to 3D-Print Critical PPE for Providers

Apr 10, 2020 at 01:05 am by pj


Team now using high capacity 3D printers to produce face shields and is developing respirator masks in multiple sizes


ORLANDO – The University of Central Florida, Orlando Health and 3D printing company Stratasys are leading an effort to rapidly 3D-print critical personal protective equipment (PPE) to ensure it is available for local healthcare professionals in their fight against COVID-19.


Researchers at UCF’s Prototype Development and 3D Print Lab have created new designs for use in state-of-the-art, continuous build 3D printers that allow medical shields, and eventually multi-sized respirator masks, to be rapidly produced, up to as many as 1,500 a day.


While UCF created the designs, the face shield production is carried out by Stratasys at other locations and then items are shipped to hospitals nationwide. The first shipment of 600 3D-printed shields arrived this week and were assembled onsite at Orlando Health to stock up their supplies.


“While we don’t currently have a shortage at Orlando Health, hospitals need to have backup plans if crucial supplies run low or run out at some point,” said Michael Schmidt, Orlando Health’s Managing Director for Strategic Innovations. “Our goal is to contribute to the collaborative dynamic taking place right now around the world and offer one possible solution to protect healthcare workers in the near term until suppliers can shore up the shortages.”


Stratasys is using its continuous build 3D printers, which print constantly without requiring a person to remove each item produced and reload material, thus greatly increasing production capacity. The 3D-printed face shield design was tested and approved by Orlando Health’s corporate safety, infection control and supply chain teams, as well as by physicians and nurses at Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center.


The design for the respirator mask is still being finalized. After examining designs online, UCF researchers worked together to develop an improved model, printing to the contour of the face instead of a flat sheet, like current designs.


“We took anatomical measurements, 3D scans of a couple people and made conformable, fitting masks that were contoured to a face and then printed it in compliance with guidelines,” said Jack Stubbs, director of the Prototype Development and 3D Print Lab at UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training. “It kind of pushes right on the face. And then you fit that to a cone that has a filter at the end of it.”


UCF researchers and Orlando Health technicians have developed and tested several designs and are close to a solution that will ultimately offer masks in multiple sizes, enabling them to be better tailored to healthcare workers’ faces. Once finalized, the respirator design will be sent to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for final approval.