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Artefactos association works together with the University of Alicante to create a printable and reusable mask




Alicante, Wednesday 18 March 2020

The association of design and social manufacturing, Artefactos, together with the University of Alicante Design Group in Engineering and Technological Development (DIDET), has been working since last Friday in the search for a "fast, safe and accessible" response to the lack of protective material in hospitals and health centres to fight the Covid-19, in coordination with doctors from the General Hospital of Alicante and medical doctors from the 12 de Octubre Hospital in Madrid.

As reported in a press release, Javier Esclapés, PhD in Engineering from the University of Alicante and coordinator of Artefactos, their priority is to obtain FFP2 or FFP3 filters and develop a prototype mask or the adaptation of models already on the market, such as the Decathlon diving mask. They will also share the design with other hospitals and work groups so that they can print them from anywhere and thus making their supplier easier nationwide and internationally.

In addition, he stressed that a hybrid prototype could already be available for testing in the next few days. However, the main problems they are facing, other than the lack of materials in stock, is the impossibility of reusing existing filters.

Healthcare protocols require that these filters be discarded after use, however, the material could have a longer life. Given the shortage, the health authorities are proposing a revision of these protocols, as long as there is evidence that the filters are virus-free, as they have reported.

For this reason, the association calls on the textile and component industry for this type of filter contacted in order to find a quicker solution to alleviate the lack of these protections.

In addition to reusable masks printed in 3D, prototypes are also being adapted to manufacture protective lenses and screens, respirator valves and other elements in order to meet health needs in the face of increasing clinical cases.

The response given by the Artefactos Association team - made up of industrial and electronic engineers and designers, occupational therapists and social educators, among others - has been supported by members of different health entities and professionals, whose experience is vital to finding the necessary solution.

All of them have put at the disposal of the Ministry of Health their manufacturing laboratory with six of their own 3D printers, ten 3D printers from the MakerALC Association, printers of the technological institutes and the number is growing every time, since every minute new collaborators are adding themselves to this initiative. 

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