Given the health emergency generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, AIMPLAS is working to make its knowledge of materials, its capacity for design, prototyping and manufacture, and its material resources available to the public authorities and health authorities in order to facilitate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE).
In particular, AIMPLAS is carrying out a feasibility study to be able to manufacture masks with replaceable filters using injection moulding processes. AIMPLAS has therefore created its own design and contacted companies and vocational education and training centres (e.g. VICEDO and Escuelas San José) about manufacturing the moulds. In addition, experts from AIMPLAS are cutting and supplying transparent PET sheets from a reel donated by MANUFACTURAS ARPLAST to manufacture protective face shields and distribute them to hospitals. Hospitals in Madrid have also been given the contact details of PET sheet suppliers.
Furthermore, as a member of the National Federation of Innovative Business Groups and Clusters, the ELIX POLYMERS company has contacted AIMPLAS about collaborating to produce ABS filaments for 3D printing of different materials such as valves and masks.
Given the shortage of protective equipment for healthcare workers and the material resources held by AIMPLAS, the technical centre has donated a total of 5,000 arm sleeves, 100 disposable gowns, 16 masks, 15 Tyvek suits, 15 litres of hand sanitizer and 10 pairs of glasses to health centres in Paterna. AIMPLAS has also contacted the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare to offer its stock of gloves.
Through the different groups that have been created in Telegram to manufacture protective equipment by additive manufacturing (3D printing), AIMPLAS is providing advice on materials. Through this platform, AIMPLAS has also made its 3D printing capacity for producing protective face shields available to different hospitals in the Region of Valencia and new units are being delivered to them daily. In addition, the centre is participating in Resistenciateam, a virtual community of makers that includes more than 1,800 people who are developing respirators, protective shields, masks and valves using 3D printing.
AIMPLAS is also involved in the search for suppliers. Support is being provided to hospitals such as Miguel Servet in Zaragoza to contact suppliers of plastic materials such as protective films and sheets.
For collaboration with different public authorities, a map of capacities is being prepared for the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism to coordinate 3D printing actions and information is being provided to the Regional Government of the Valencian Community on companies with possible production capacities for PPE and hand sanitizers. The Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) has been provided with information on cotton bud manufacturers, while the Network of Technological Institutes of the Valencia Region (REDIT) has been given information on capacities in the field of additive manufacturing.