Using Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing as a Bridge Manufacturing Process in Response to Shortages in Personal Protective Equipment during the COVID-19 Outbreak

Elizabeth G. Bishop, Simon James Leigh

Article ID: 281
Vol 6, Issue 4, 2020, Article identifier:281

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The global coronavirus disease (COVID)-19 pandemic has led to an international shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), with traditional supply chains unable to cope with the significant demand leading to critical shortfalls. A number of open and crowdsourcing initiatives have sought to address this shortfall by producing equipment such as protective face shields using additive manufacturing techniques such as fused filament fabrication (FFF). This paper reports the process of designing and manufacturing protective face shields using large-scale additive manufacturing (LSAM) to produce the major thermoplastic components of the face shield. LSAM offers significant advantages over other additive manufacturing technologies in bridge manufacturing scenarios as a true transition between prototypes and mass production techniques such as injection molding. In the context of production of COVID-19 face shields, the ability to produce the optimized components in under 5 min compared to what would typically take 1 – 2 h using another additive manufacturing technologies meant that significant production volume could be achieved rapidly with minimal staffing.


Additive manufacturing, Three-dimensional printing, Coronavirus disease-19, Coronavirus, Face shield, Personal protective equipment

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