What happens when innovative capabilities meet a crisis?
Over a century ago, an unprecedented flu pandemic made an unparalleled global impact that lasted over two years. Though many measures were enacted at the time via closed businesses, schools, sporting events and churches, including implementing better hygiene and masks, there was an absence of any high-tech capabilities during this era to address something on a worldwide scale. They were limited not only by a lack of advanced medicines, but also state-of-the-art medical equipment.
Today we’re witnessing several startling parallels with yet another global pandemic outbreak while also instituting the same preventative measures of one hundred years ago. Though a vaccine appears to be several months away, we’re seeing other combative measures enacted on several technological fronts using contemporary creative technologies to produce essential healthcare components via additive manufacturing (AM).
Additive manufacturing or 3D printing provides the ability to create parts and products digitally by printing them layer upon layer following the part 3D model. The ingenuity of this technology has been at the forefront of the manufacturing industry in the last few decades. Like wars and healthcare crises of the past, which perpetuated considerable modernization, this current landscape is birthing technological advancements. We’re witnessing a surge of manufacturing efficiencies in healthcare products for mass production, such as ventilators, to help save lives.
Even in the automotive industry, many manufacturers have temporarily restructured their factories to output essential medical equipment. A recent press release describes how Siemens is addressing this crisis head-on by providing the technology, creativity and connectivity to the ecosystem of organizations and individuals to support it.
Siemens Digital Industries Software is providing its Additive Manufacturing Network for integrating software solutions for industrial use. An environment for learning, experimenting, collaborating and printing industrial grade parts, the AM Network is now offering to medical providers, designers and service providers free access for certified AM suppliers. Additionally, experts are available to answer design inquiries or to assist in converting files for printing.
This comprehensive network consist of the following participants:
- Over 80 buyers’ organizations joined the network to request engineering and production support.
- 120 suppliers globally offering their services, from small scale manufacturers with a few industrial printers, to the industry leaders, such as MTU, Voxeljet, Oerlikon, Stratasys and Renishaw. Many of the suppliers are offering free or significant discounts for COVID parts. You can find them in AMN website or at the Supplier Directory. Over a third have initiated or handled an incoming transaction through the AM Network.
- 40 AM experts and engineering organizations offering their services to anyone in need.
With our Xcelerator suite of products, Siemens Digital Industries Software brings the industrial additive vision to life, providing the know-how through the Additive Manufacturing Network to create parts and products once thought unthinkable. Also, Siemens’ vast network of partners and experts provide the foresight and knowledge for promoting innovative ideas and licensing new products. Until this crisis subsides, technology will continue to advance through many outlets, including the AM Network’s contributions.
Learn more about how the Additive Manufacturing Network is reshaping the manufacturing industry.
About the author
David Swisa is the Business Development Manager at Siemens Digital Industries Software, bringing over 10 years of experience in design and R&D management in complex defense systems and industrial 2D printing to the table. His fascination with 3D printing was a natural next step in his career journey. He is driven by his desire to build up businesses that leverage the design freedom and speed AM software and technology offer to the manufacturing process.