As coronavirus cases surged in the spring and summer, healthcare professionals put their wellbeing at risk by working without the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), such as N95 facemasks. Not only did healthcare professionals face a PPE shortage, they also faced a ventilator and related components shortage, which are used to treat patients with extreme COVID-19 symptoms.
As a result, additive manufacturing (AM) entered the conversation to help the medical industry as a powerful short-and long-term solution for supply chains. AM was able to bridge the gap between demand and supply by filling critical needs for N95 masks, face shields, and repair parts for ventilators.
A powerful solution
Additive manufacturing (AM) has proven it is a solution for disruptions in the supply chain. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there were production and delivery delays, which required manufacturers to source components and assemble requirements from multiple locations. AM stepped in and has been able to simplify the supply chain and reduce the multi-part components to a single printed object, resulting in the power of localized, on-demand manufacturing.
With additive manufacturing, we can improve the way we design, create, distribute, and repair products on a grand scale. It is a short-term and long-term solution that provides immediate access to critical supplies on-demand but also solves much deeper problems. Additive manufacturing is proactively addressing the issues of our ongoing supply-and-demand crisis.
If you are still curious about how COVID-19 was a tipping point for additive manufacturing, you can watch the presentation I gave earlier this year.