Stratasys Ltd., the global leader in additive manufacturing and 3D printing technology, announced in late March, a global mobilization of the company’s 3D printing resources and expertise to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the company’s efforts have expanded to include the formation of a coalition of more than 150 companies and universities including Boeing, Toyota Motor Company, Medtronic, Dunwoody College of Technology, the University of Central Florida and the University of Minnesota.
Stratasys is also a hosting sponsor for an open innovation challenge called the CoVent-19 Challenge. The initiative aims to develop a rapidly deployable ventilator and other ventilator solutions. And in late April, Stratasys announced the signing of an agreement with Origin in which Stratasys will market and promote Origin 3D-printed nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs to healthcare providers and other testing centers in the U.S.
We caught up with Scott Drikakis, Healthcare Segment Leader, Stratasys Americas, to learn more about Stratasys’s global initiatives to respond to COVID-19 in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.
AMazing®: Scott, thank you for your participation. What has impressed you most about the support that has been offered by customers, businesses and institutions to help flatten the curve within the COVID-19 pandemic?
Scott Drikakis: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all of our lives, both personally and professionally and it has been humbling to see everyone come together to offer support in whatever capacity they can. While I typically stay within the healthcare domain, I have had the honor to work with some of the world’s leading automotive and aerospace companies on solutions to serve healthcare staff and patients affected by this pandemic. I have been so impressed by everyone’s willingness to set ego aside to jump in and help.
AMazing®: That’s exciting to hear how industry is responding to the pandemic. How is the face shield initiative progressing? How can businesses, institutions, as well as individuals contribute to the initiative?
Scott Drikakis: To date, we’ve distributed over 100,000 face shields for frontline workers and other healthcare personnel. While we’re making strides, we still encourage anyone with 3D printing capacity to help if they are able. For those who have access to 3D printers, we’ve made our design files for the face shield frames easy to download. We recommend finding a local nursing home or hospital and donating the supplies.
For more information, please visit www.stratasys.com
AMazing®: Stratasys is also involved in an initiative called the CoVent-19 Challenge to develop a rapidly deployable ventilator and other ventilator solutions. What are the goals of the challenge on a short and long-term basis?
Scott Drikakis: In the short term, we want to help hospitals around the world by enabling innovative new designs for areas where standard mechanical ventilators may be hard to obtain. Stratasys experts are working directly with finalists to turn their designs into prototypes for testing. Longer-term, we want to expedite widespread production of the winning design so it can get to market at an affordable price and help those who need it most. We’re already working with experts in regulatory measures and safety testing to ensure all products meet U.S. and international standards.
AMazing®: In late April, Stratasys announced an agreement with Origin to market and promote 3d printed nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs to heathcare providers and testing centers in the U.S. How can additive manufacturing help make a difference in the design and manufacture of NP swabs?
Scott Drikakis: The testing of millions of people is currently hampered by a shortage of testing supplies that are manufactured by traditional means. There’s a tremendous demand, and they’re needed quickly and in places all over the world. That’s where additive manufacturing can make a difference. With additive manufacturing, we can really be anywhere, print virtually anything and adapt on the fly to scale to meet urgent needs like those we’re seeing with NP swabs.
One 3D printer can produce batches of 1,500 Origin NP O1-S Swabs, and that can happen multiple times a day. Ultimately, as the process gets more streamlined, we should see the production of roughly 190,000 NP swabs per day, or 1.3 million per week. These swabs are available as sterile, individually packaged swabs which allows our healthcare customers to immediately incorporate them into clinical practice as they currently do today.
AMazing®: Stratasys recently announced the launch of the J750 Digital Anatomy 3D printer earlier this year. Please tell us about the printer and how it may help overcome limitations associated with organ realism and biomechanical functionality.
Scott Drikakis: The J750 Digital Anatomy 3D printer creates 3D-printed medical models that replicate the feel, responsiveness and biomechanics of human anatomy. This means medical professionals can create medical models, like replicas of a human heart, which accurately represent the appearance and response of human tissue. This realism means the printer can reduce the need for the use of generic synthetic models, animals and cadaver labs, so testing and training can happen anywhere, and that has significant implications for medical training and testing.
For example, medical device companies optimize design throughout the product lifecycle. And for physicians, the printer provides the means for surgical training in a risk-free setting, allowing them to practice and sharpen their skills on many different anatomies and pathologies before they interact with a patient in the operating room.
This concludes our interview. Scott, thank you very much for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about Stratasys’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and newly release J750 Digital Anatomy 3d printer.
About CoVent-19 Challenge
The CoVent-19 Challenge is an open innovation 8-week Grand Challenge for engineers, innovators, designers, and makers around the world to help respond to the ventilator crisis by designing a rapidly deployable, minimum viable mechanical ventilator for patients with COVID-19. The Challenge was launched on GrabCAD, Stratasys’s community of 7 million designers, engineers, students and manufacturers, on April 1. The challenge will consist of two rounds aimed to create CAD assemblies by May 1, 2020 (Round 1: General Admission) and functional prototypes demonstrating acceptable performance by June 1, 2020 (Round 2: Invitation Only).
About Scott Drikakis:
Scott Drikakis was appointed Healthcare Segment Leader, Stratasys Americas, in November 2019. Previously, Drikakis was Head of Medical, Stratasys Americas, overseeing healthcare engagements/strategies with the company’s medical device and hospital partners. Drikakis joined Stratasys in 2017 serving as Head of Medical for the company’s key customers. Drikakis received a Bachelor of Science from the University of Minnesota.
Stratasys (Nasdaq: SSYS) is a global leader in additive manufacturing or 3D printing technology and is the manufacturer of FDM®, PolyJet™, and stereolithography 3D printers. The company’s technologies are used to create prototypes, manufacturing tools, and production parts for industries, including aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer products and education. For more than 30 years, Stratasys products have helped manufacturers reduce product-development time, cost, and time-to-market, as well as reduce or eliminate tooling costs and improve product quality. The Stratasys 3D printing ecosystem of solutions and expertise includes 3D printers, materials, software, expert services, and on-demand parts production.
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Source: Stratasys Ltd./AMazing