News from IBM – As the UK faces a shortage of protective equipment in hospitals due to the ongoing crisis surrounding COVID-19, IBM staff with 3D printers are turning their devices and skills to helping alleviate the shortage by producing them themselves after an internal rallying call for expertise and supplies.
In the first few days of the project, a shipment of 20 visors was created and sent to University Hospital Southampton and over 300 have now been distributed with many more in production as the team grows and gets more printers running, in what has become a virtual working-from-home assembly line from IBM staff’s homes across the country.
Originally, staff were using their own supplies but it was quickly realised that a longer-term solution was needed especially for IBM staff facing financial difficulties so a funding site was started on GoFundMe which reached its initial goal of £3500 in less than 5 hours and by the 31st March, an additional £2500 had been donated.
Since the team started production on 26th March, they have received requests for nearly 2,000 visors from more than 20 NHS trusts and health services across the country including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol.
Sean, an IBMer who is currently working full-time on the project, is already looking to the future: “When this crisis is over, these additional printers will be donated to local schools so that the next generation of makers will have a head start in using 3D printing technology to solve problems.”