3D Printing Innovation During the COVID-19 Crisis

By Erin Shortall on 22 April, 2020

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During this historical period of time where the world is experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak, businesses everywhere are responding with necessary measures and precautions. Stopping the spread cannot be done through maintaining the normal day-to-day functions.

As social gathering has been put to an end for the time being, and humans find solace and protection in home isolation and washing hands, many essential businesses must remain open and are looking for the best possible ways to protect their employees and maintain good health while getting the job done.

As an essential business, throughout the past several weeks, Liberty Electronics has taken numerous measures to ensure its employees are safe and healthy during this time. In accordance with the orders from the Pennsylvania Governor and United States President, Liberty sent as many associates as possible home to Telework per the company business continuity plan.

Liberty monitors the facilities and production floors to ensure there is proper social distancing, partitions are set up, and sanitization is in constant practice. In addition, offices have been split in order to allow social distancing and quarantine.

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COVID-19 is a moment in history that no human being has experienced before. It is a constantly evolving global situation that requires monitoring and individual business adjustments. It also presents an opportunity for manufacturing companies in particular to use their engineering abilities to design products in support of these isolation and sanitization efforts. Many companies that had to postpone their current practices have even flipped their businesses to create products that can aid hospitals and citizens during this health crisis.

As Liberty has offered its abilities to contribute to the prevention efforts of this crisis, Liberty has also looked for ways that 3D printing can prevent the spread of germs and reduce the risk of infection in-house.

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One of the priorities was to protect the receptionist, as she is the first person to interact with any person that comes in and out of the building. To create a barrier between these human interactions, the manufacturing engineers built what they’ve coined a “Sneeze Guard!” This consists of two long sheets of 1/8-inch thick polycarbonate glass.

They then designed 3D brackets and clips, which they placed in a 3D printer—the Stratasys Fortus 450mc in Dark Gray ASA with heat-imbedded threaded inserts for support. The brackets and clips ran for 30 hours, with an additional hour for post-processing and assembly.

The clips tightly secure to the front desk in the Liberty main lobby, providing enough stability and support to hold the polycarbonate sheets upright. In addition, the glass is tall enough and wraps around both sides in order to provide a secure barrier behind the desk.

In addition to this custom Sneeze Barrier, Liberty has also 3D-printed face shields for the employees who are still working in-office. They even printed clips to be attached to ball caps so those wearing hats can still wear the face shields.

It truly is amazing to see what solutions 3D printing can provide towards the efforts to maintain safety and good health during this unique COVID-19 health crisis. Even more astounding is the ability to have these parts created and finished by the next business day. As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. A crisis like COVID-19 demands creative and innovative solutions like never before.

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Topics: Company News, Innovation, Manufacturing

Author: Erin Shortall

Erin joined Liberty Electronics as a Program Manager in June of 2019. She recently graduated from Grove City College with a B.A. in English, as well as minors in Writing and Communication Studies and a concentration in Technical Writing. She previously lived in Phoenix, AZ for a summer, where she spent time copywriting and copyediting for a news publishing company. Erin highly values her studies in UX, informational, presentation, and technical design. While in college, she held several positions in the Tri-Zeta Sorority, including Alumni Communications Coordinator, and she also led a service team to Philadelphia for two years. She looks forward to utilizing her different experiences to aid in Liberty’s continued growth.

About Wired Success 

Wired Success is a Liberty Electronics publication for engineers, procurement professionals, and others in manufacturing and the supply chain who want to keep up with news, advances, and products for use in a range of industry sectors to include aerospace, defense contracting, rail, light transit, medical devices, and more. Please subscribe for regular updates or follow us on our social media channels. For media inquiries, please contact us here.

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