As hospitals seek donations of medical personal protective equipment (PPEs), employees at a local 3D printing business are hoping they can help.
MakerGear in Beachwood, which manufactures 3D printers for schools and businesses across the country, is open to requests from health care providers.
CEO Rick Pollack said the company is preparing to use its in-house printers to make medical protective equipment. They’ve already produced parts for plastic face shields.
“When you need something custom, fast, is when 3D printing is really helpful," he said. "So if there’s a need that has shown up in the marketplace where first responders need something, or the hospitals need something, and 3D printing is the right technology, we’re ready to help.”
Pollack said the company has approximately 25 printers “on standby” that could be used for production of PPE. “We have a mechanical engineer ready to help out, so if we can help with that, we are ready to do that,” he said.
He also said the business can print parts to make a variety of equipment, but first, they are trying to find out what is needed.
The company has started printing materials for Lake Health Hospital after its management said they’re looking for more face shields.
If the company gets inquiries to make equipment, Pollack said they would try to donate as much as they could.
“What we can’t do is source all of the other materials necessary to do large quantities,” he said. “We would need external help to make that possible.”
He said in order to scale up production, they would need additional funds, or donations of materials, such as plastic, elastic bands or foam.
“We have plenty of materials to print parts, but to actually produce a finished item, like a face shield, there’s components that we don’t have that we can’t buy thousands of,” Pollack said.
Pollack said he’s heard of other 3D printing businesses interested in shifting their production to make parts for PPE. A New York-based company, Budmen Industries, began manufacturing plastic face shields last week and is now taking orders from people across the world.
“We’ve got the resources, we’ve got the equipment, we’re ready to go,” Pollack said.