Thanks to our friends in the Library Services of Kilkenny, Kildare and South Dublin, we’ve been able to breathe some life back in to this array of Ultimaker 3D printers, to assist in the COVID19 crisis.
Our fleet of several hundred printers (3D & Desktop) in Public Libraries, Shopping Centres, Student Accommodation and Airports throughout Ireland and UK have gone strangely quiet this past few weeks. So the hum of 3D printers busily producing PPE Face Shields from our offices in Thomastown, Kilkenny is very welcome indeed.
Two days ago, we put out the call to some of our nearby Library Services, to borrow their printers for this purpose. Their response was instant and wholeheartedly supportive. Library branch staff were immediately mobilised and we got a van on the road yesterday to get around to them. Together with our own printers, we now have 14 Ultimaker 2+ models back in operation.
Taking some ideas from the wealth of online shared resources on the subject, we’ve now optimised a Face Shield design for our requirements. We can keep the printers running close to 24 hours a day in 3 ‘shifts’, producing almost 100 Face Shields. Depending on the logistics, we may be able to add to the fleet. For those libraries, or others, that we can’t reach we will happily share our design and assembly techniques.
This is not a profit-making venture; we simply hope to cover material and delivery costs. Some of the local hospitals have already made contact about initial supplies, and we hope to able to spread our supply net further afield.
This is obviously a hugely uncertain time for our business, like so many others out there. We recognise that the Government’s wage subsidy scheme is helping to keep our staff on the payroll. It has also helped us answer the call for businesses to adapt existing capacity and expertise to meet the current shortfall in desperately needed PPE supplies for COVID19. And all the while fostering a culture of co-operation and between library services and small business, public and private sector, that will no doubt stand us all in good stead when do eventually get through this crisis.