The emergence of 3D printing as a manufacturing solution during the COVID-19 crisis now implies bold actions be taken. .
During the initial stages of the crisis 3D printer operators worldwide realized they could attempt to make up some of the shortage of critical healthcare equipment by 3D printing parts on demand. While some bravely attempted 3D printing complex items such as ventilators, the community eventually settled on items that could be effectively produced, such as face shields, ear savers and similar items.
That’s what happened at the community level. Meanwhile, something similar but perhaps more important occurred at the industrial level.
Several 3D printing companies turned their resources towards the problem and began mass manufacturing components. Examples include Formlabs and consortium partners 3D printing literally millions of test swabs, while Photocentric made similar quantities of face shields.
These and similar projects undertaken by other 3D printing companies caused a transformation to occur. These companies essentially created new manufacturing lines of business to handle the sudden demand. In a very real sense, they BECAME general product manufacturers — beyond their 3D printing products. This is a significant transformation.
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