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KSAT employees contribute to national 3D printing initiative

As a response to the equipment shortage and rising demand triggered by COVID-19, KSAT employees have engaged in a national 3D printing network initiative to support frontline health workers.

Photo: KSAT System Engineer Vidar Tyldum demonstrates the 3D printer and the different products to Nina Soleng, Director of Communications.  

A national network of individuals and companies in Norway called MakersmotCovid19, responds to the COVID-19 pandemic by coordinating 3D printing, assembly and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to frontline health workers all over the country. 

Several hundred volunteers, all over the country, are 3D printing innovative designs at home and in the workplace. The equipment is delivered to health-workers for free and can therefore be delivered quickly and locally, avoiding bureaucratic and time-consuming centralized procurement processes. A dedicated website serves as a direct meeting point between the providers and the end-users, but for the network to operate, they are dependent on donations.

KSAT system engineer Vidar Tyldum, who has been very engaged in this new 3D printer network, was convinced that this was something that KSAT should, and would, support:

- "We wanted to contribute to this national initiative and the fight against the corona virus. Many of KSAT´s employees are socially engaged, and making personal protective equipment for health-workers felt like a real contribution. As a high-tech company in space industry, this activity was definitely also within our field" says Tyldum.  

IMG_4389.jpgPhoto: The 3D printer itself s not much bigger than a microwave and sits in Vidar´s office at KSAT HQ in Tromsø. Currently he is able to set up printing of 20 visirs in 13 hours, that way he can keep the production going around the clock to meet demand.

The 3D printer is used to make elements of plastic from filament, and the frames for protective visors has become very high in demand from health workers. In just a few weeks 38.000 visors has been produced, assembled and distributed through the network.

New and innovative things are continously being developed and the designs, tweeks and improvements are freely shared online through platforms and communities. A new product currently available through the network is an "Ear Saver"; a small, easy-to-print adapter that improves the fit of surgical and N95 masks. By removing the pressure from behind the ears, it makes it more comfortable to wear for a long time. The small hooks let the wearer use a mask of almost any size. 

- "You can print a lot of different things, not only visors. We are currently test-printing a special mouthpiece for use by dentists, protecting against virus transmission through droplets from the patients mouth". Vidar continues: "It´s all about safety for the people who need it to carry out their roles, working close to other people, and for the people that that need to consult them".

Makersmotcovid19_2.pngPhoto: Feedback from the end-users is purely positive, as can be seen in social media (Collage from Makersmotcovid19´s Twitter account)