Like the rest of the world, Dubai has been in the grips of the Covid-19 pandemic and like most industries, 3D printing in Dubai has been affected by the economic fallout that has followed. For a time the world stood still, most countries in full lockdown and commerce was rightly put on the backburner for the time being. That meant global supply chains grinded to halt and companies were left to pick up the pieces. I can proudly say that the 3D printing community, not just in Dubai and the UAE, but all over the world stepped up. We have long theorized that 3D printing (or additive manufacturing) can work as a distributed manufacturing platform and it was time to put it to the test. All around the world 3D printing companies began to slot in to supply chains helping print ventilator parts, masks, visors and a host of daily necessities that organizations may have needed with supply in disrepair.
Locally here in Dubai every company in our circle rose to the challenge and it was a proud time for 3D printing in the country. We at Generation 3D partnered with colleagues and initiatives to 3D print face shields for DHA and critical workers around the UAE. The DHA themselves were coordinating internal 3D printing of face shields for front-line workers as well.
Generation 3D have also been 3D printing in antiviral materials that are improving in the industry every week it seems. We have teamed up in particular with Copper 3D in Chile working with their nano-composite PLA material which is naturally antimicrobial. Studies on the material, which is currently only available for 3D printing, indicate the material can eliminate Sars and Covid like virus in minutes 1. At Generation 3D we have launched our new Clinicase, our antimicrobial phone case, to combat one of the most common spreaders of virus and pathogens according to Dubai Police.
Moving towards the future I think 2020 will be seen as a breakout year for 2020. I think large organizations and countries will now view 3D printing as an integral part of manufacturing and supply chains particularly in times of need and uncertainty. It will continue to be challenging for all companies in Dubai and around the world, however I believe we will come out stronger and more united.
1. Han J, Chen L, Duan S, Yang Q, Yang M, Gao C, et al. Efficient and quick inactivation of SARS, coronavirus and other microbes exposed to the surfaces of some metal catalysts. Biomed Environ Sci BES, 2005.
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