Healthcare organizations are on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19. Racing to bring more test centers online. Building field hospitals. Converting available space to care for patients. With our partners, we’re helping ensure these infrastructure projects are completed quickly by ensuring always-on power for essential electrical systems that support the critical, sensitive equipment for around-the-clock healthcare operations.
Compounding these challenges, today’s healthcare workers are experiencing extreme shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). The need for this equipment is immediate. We’re proud to convene community partners, apply innovative design expertise and help expand manufacturing capabilities to produce more supplies faster.
For years, we’ve been applying additive manufacturing otherwise known as 3D printing, across our business. This approach enables our teams to quickly refine product designs based on customer feedback and easily scale production—delivering cost, performance and lead time benefits for our customers. We launched our Southfield, Michigan Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence in 2016, attained AS9100 quality certification in 2018, and have been supplying parts to our customers. Now, we’re using that expertise to produce much-needed supplies, including face shields and non-contact door openers to fight the battle against COVID-19.
Additive manufacturing opens up new opportunities to combine novel materials, designs and process innovations at a much faster pace than traditional manufacturing. It enables engineers with quick and cost-effective design iterations to dramatically reduce development time. And now more than ever, time is of the essence.
What matters most is the ability of our healthcare system to respond to the crisis at hand. We’re leveraging our expertise in additive manufacturing to deliver real-time solutions.
For example, we’re designing and 3D printing medical supplies to meet the needs of our customers and the world. By working closely with healthcare providers, we’ve developed face shields that can be sanitized and reused for a period of time. We’re donating initial supplies to hospitals in Cleveland, New York City and beyond.
We’re also pursuing options to transition the production of face shields to more traditional manufacturing methods because the current demand for these critical assets far exceeds the supply available from 3D printing. We’re looking at injection molding processes in collaboration with a variety of manufacturing facilities to help provide protection for front-line healthcare workers.
“The entire community here is indebted to innovative organizations like Eaton, who are flexing their technological muscles and making a difference in these challenging times!”
In addition to face shields, Eaton is also using 3D printing to produce non-contact door openers, which allow healthcare workers to open doors with a “touchless” assist. This hands-free tool helps reduce the potential for front line healthcare providers to be exposed to the novel coronavirus, which can exist on public surfaces.
In collaboration with University Hospitals (UH) in Cleveland, initial samples of the non-contact door openers were shared with front-line medical staff and the feedback was tremendous. Input from UH staff was quickly incorporated into a new design and tested to ensure performance. The ability to work collaboratively with the staff at UH, even in this time of crisis, allowed Eaton to rapidly deliver the right products at the right time to assist in the COVID-19 battle.
Working together, we are supporting local response to the healthcare crisis and helping our communities get better faster.