The COVID-19 pandemic has left many hospitals in danger of depleting personal protective equipment. The 3D printing industry came to the rescue, undertaking the production of, among others helmet. As it turned out, the manufactured objects successfully played their role and quickly began to reduce the overall deficit of substitute personal protective equipment.
General Motors, an American automotive giant, has been using incremental technology to prototype cars since 1989. The company installed 17 production-grade FDM Stratasys systems and at the end of 2019 decided to adapt many of its production lines for faster and more efficient tooling production.
During the first phase of the current US coronavirus pandemic, General Motors was engaged by the US Department of Health and Human Services to manufacture 30,000 ventilators to replenish domestic resources. The government expects General Motors to deliver finished products by the end of August.
Without additive technology in the ventilator manufacturing process, the company would not be physically able to respond to this situation as quickly as it does now. Investing in staff training in the field of 3D printing, as well as ensuring the appropriate preparation of additive manufacturing plants allowed for an immediate start with production.
General Motors has undertaken to reverse engineer a component part from the original respirator manufacturer to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a product research process aimed at determining the operating technology and the cost of implementation.
The company emphasizes that the equipment they manufacture for intensive care ventilators comes exclusively from 3D production based on their own Stratasys FDM systems with the support of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing.
Ron Daul, General Motors’ Director of Additive Manufacturing, speaks of the undeniable fact of making the company’s chain more flexible thanks to the use of 3D printing in the production process. Over 700 employees have been trained to use this technology. The production of products, tools and assembly aids is now becoming more and more efficient.
Rich Garrity, president of Stratasys Americas, adds that through the use of additive technology, production lines have become significantly cheaper and the products themselves are developed in significantly less time. He claims that the future of the automotive industry will be increasingly based on 3D printing.