How Companies are Reconfiguring Equipment to Meet Demands of the Public
Disclaimer: When choosing to retool manufacturing equipment for any purpose, do so at your own risk and always abide by local health regulations for the health and safety of your employees and clientele.
We live in interesting times. The world is in the midst of a pandemic that we all hope will get better soon but has the potential to get much worse before it gets better. Our demand for medical needs and essentials for the home has grown exponentially as more people are excluding themselves from events and practicing social distancing. The notion has drastically impacted companies so much so that many are retooling their equipment to account for the needs of the world. CNC manufacturing and 3D Printing companies have drastically changed what and how they manufacture daily items and medical necessities.
Auto Manufacturers Stepping Up
Automotive companies have been embracing 3D Printing for a few years now and have found how easy it is to retool their factory for a variety of purposes. In today’s crisis with Covid-19, they are doing their part to ensure the safety of many affected. Ford, Tesla, and GM are companies that rarely work cohesively, but these three companies are working now to produce ventilators to help hospitals maintain a supply as this virus attacks the respiratory system most often.
As more people are turning to medical needs instead of heading out to buy their next new vehicle, these three companies are just a sampling of what we may be seeing in the future of manufacturing. What is unique about this shift in manufacturing is that with the use of 3D Printers, facilities can essentially retool and retrofit their facilities for new purposes, such as the manufacturing of ventilators without resorting to purchasing new equipment. As with many other companies, these three big name auto makers are doing their part for the greater good and making necessary changes to help the fight against this virus.
Recommended guidelines to slow the spread of a virus and keep yourself protected is by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds under hot water with an antibacterial soap. When water is unavailable, the use of hand sanitizer is recommended. Naturally, once news spread of the Coronavirus, hand sanitizer and antibacterial hand soap began to vanish from store shelves. People still need it and supplies are currently limited, but one 3D Printing company is stepping up to help.
It started as a simple tweet from Josef Prusa in which he shared a recipe from World Health Organization for hand sanitizer. The post said that Prusa, a well known 3D Printing company, was producing hand sanitizer in house to combat the potential shortages in supplies. The notion was not just a one time fix but prompted Josef to convert some of their existing equipment from general 3D Printing projects to the production of hand sanitizer. One small idea can impact the lives of so many during this pandemic.
The Adaptability of an Industry
Generally speaking, for an industry to completely retool their operation comes at a high cost. There are costs involved in purchasing new equipment and training employees how to use it. Basically, refitting a facility that is used to making car parts to medical necessities can be enormously expensive. However, if you take that same facility and modernise it with CNC manufacturing and 3D Printers, flexibility becomes an option.
Essentially, when this happens, workers do not have to learn new machines completely or even a new program to produce necessary products. The same 3D Printers can be used to produce the new products without the need to retrofit new products. As 3D Printers work off of a computerised format, the 3D Printer will produce what the program tells it to whether that is car or ventilator parts. Furthermore, many of these companies, especially GM, have had prior experience in producing ventilators making the switch even more effortless.
Where Are We Headed?
The world is changing rapidly and more news is hitting news outlets daily, but we must not panic about what could happen, but embrace the potential for change. Although 3D Printers do not hold the cure for this growing pandemic, they will be highly instrumental in changing the face of the manufacturing industry offering the ability to retool factories to make necessities for the world. Although these particular stories have taken place in America, 3D Printers will be a global help for this crisis we are facing. It is time we, as a global community, embrace the ease of 3D Printers, for CNC manufacturing and bring supplies to the world as a whole.