Sharjah Innovation Park ramps up production of 3D-printed face masks to combat coronavirus

A 3D printing company located at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) has ramped up production of 3D-printed face masks, including manufacturing face shields that provide a wider 180-degree protection of the face against coronavirus (COVID-19).

The need for face masks soared in the UAE after the government said they should be worn at all times outside the home as wearing a face mask is proven to be 86% more effective in reducing the spread of coronavirus infection.

Immensa Technology Labs, an engineering company based at SRTI Park that usually focuses on spare parts for the oil and gas industry and 3D printing components, has succeeded in developing, designing and producing a variety of face masks that can be used to prevent COVID-19 infection.

“Since February, Immensa has collaborated with various organizations in Europe to produce very effective PPEs (personal protective equipment) that is in short supply globally. One partciluar effective PPE is 3D-printed face shield, connected to a headband. The face shield or visor is made from a special polymer that repels viruses and bacteria,” said Fahmi Al-Shawwa, CEO and founder at Immensa Technology Labs

Unlike a face mask that is only covering the nose and mouth, a visor provides a 180-degree protection of the face, and also prevents the person from touching the face

“By March, Immensa has been producing over 5,000 face shields a week and currently Immensa has ramped up production of face shields to over 25,000 a week, supplying to numerous public and private entities across the UAE,” added Al-Shawwa

Immensa is also developing and 3D printing connectors for ventilators and other items facing shortages as well as spare parts for non medical machinery that are hard to source due to disruption in supply chain.

 

Innovation is the key to fight coronavirus

Hussain Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, said innovation, more than ever, plays a key roled in combating the global coronavirus pandemic.

 

He said, Immensa, one of the leading Additive Manufacturing (AM) company providing 3D printing services for customers in a range of industries, has successfully innovated its line of business to step up in supporting doctors, nurses and first responders, who are exposed to the virus.

Al Mahmoudi, said this reflects the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, in investing in the creative sector in the emirate, and his keenness to support and embrace the institutions and centers of research and development from various parts of the world.

“The strategy adopted at SRTI Park has encouraged many companies at various local, regional and international levels to enter into partnerships with the complex. In such difficult crises, the true value of such strategies and visions appears,” he said.

Al Mahmoudi also pointed out SRTI Park has earlier announced the development of innovative and sustainable methods of agricultural production ensure food self-reliance in the midst of the global health crisis.

“A team of botanists, agriculturists and engineers from Merlin International has created a 150-square internal farm that can produce one ton of organic fruits and vegetables monthly, an ideal way to produce sustainable food in the time of coronavirus,” he further explained.

“Through these innovative projects, we aspire to promote the emirate of Sharjah as the capital of innovation at the global level," underlined Al Mahmoudi, adding:  “3D printing will have a major role in the future of many sectors such as construction, medicine, aviation, and more.”

“The possibilities are endless, and we look invite more local, regional and international companies to come to SRTI Park and share key technologies that can be further enhanced to meet global needs and help address present and future challenges, particularly in renewable energy, infrastructure, education, healthcare, and food and water resources,” he underlined.

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