Hungarian 3D printer manufacturer Craftbot has announced the launch of a Rapid Local Manufacturing Centre (RLM) located in Cornwall, UK, to support the national effort in producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for key workers amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as 3D printing PPE, the centre will also serve as an information hub for hobbyists across the UK looking for support and guidance in using their own 3D printers to produce PPE for the national effort.
To launch the RLM, Craftbot has donated fifteen 3D printers, equal to £35,000 in value. “We are very proud to support the community of innovators who are helping to protect our key workers and keep vulnerable communities safe, by turning their homes and business into mini manufacturers”, comments John Kassis, VP Commercial at CraftBot.
“The insights we will gain from the Centre help us make the processes more efficient and enlighten us to future trends, allowing us to better support new RLMs across the UK. We hope it will also inspire people to look into creating their own RLM Centres.”
The Craftbot Flow 3D printers
Founded in 2014, Craftbot (formelry Craftunique) is focused on developing user-friendly, ‘plug and play’ 3D printers that respond to its customer’s needs. Based in Budapest, the company has offices in the United States, Canada and UK.
Since its founding, the company is said to have sold over 10,000 units worldwide, with its first CraftBot 3D printer in 2014, and subsequent newer systems, including the CraftBot 3, XL and Plus.
The company launched its latest range, the Flow generation, in late 2019, which included a total of four different systems: two single extruder and two independent dual extruder (IDEX) iterations. After testing the machine earlier in the year, 3D Printing Industry’s engineers gave the larger dual extrusion system, the Craftbot Flow IDEX XL, a glowing review, finding it to be a very capable large-format 3D printer for professionals, with a plethora of carefully designed features.
Providing PPE to key workers
Craftbot explains how it has been working with partners to set up ten RLM centres to help protect front line workers around the world, including in Germany, Hungary, the United States and Canada. In Hungary, CraftBot has 3D printed and donated more than six thousand face shields to local hospitals.
Initially the new RLM centre in Cornwall houses six IDEX 3D printers donated by CraftBot, which will be able to produce face shields for key workers, along with other equipment including door openers and ear protectors. Local suppliers J-Supplied 3D and 3D Print Cornwall will be operating the centre, with PPE donated to local care homes and GPs, dentists, pharmacists and local shop owners.
There will be a public livestream inside one of the 3D printers to showcase how the PPE products are manufactured. The public livestream will also offer advice on how other 3D printer owners can create PPE with their own 3D printers.
Collaborating with the University of Exeter, the Craftbot 3D printers will also be fitted with special equipment to record and monitor the environmental and economic impact of the RLM centre.
“With the support of the University of Exeter we will be able to better understand the environmental footprint of the RLM Centre. This is the first concept of its kind and we are very excited to see it come to fruition,” comments Mike Hunt from 3DPrint Cornwall. “The process will be available to view 24/7 through a video stream from a camera that is embedded in the printers, which will demonstrate the machines’ ease of set-up and the minimal maintenance requirements.”
A second RLM Centre will also be set up in Shropshire with an additional six 3D printers donated by CraftBot.
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Featured image shows a line of Craftbot 3D printers. Photo via Craftbot.