Allentown News COVID

Published on March 27th, 2020

St. Lukeʼs Partners with Local Business to Produce 3D Printed Masks

BETHLEHEM – St. Lukeʼs and Filament Innovations of Coplay, as well as 3D manufacturer ProtoCAM of Allentown, have teamed up to produce 3D printed masks and face shields for health care providers in the wake of COVID-19.

“We’ve been following the news in Europe related to medical supplies, and I knew we had to act quickly,” said Megan Augustine, Director of St. Lukeʼs University Health Network’s Simulation Center.

She began working with her team and the 3D printing community to custom print N95 respirator masks, additional masks and face shields – some of the highest-demand protective products for health care workers.

“These masks and face shields reduce the risk of airborne transmission from an actively sick patient to the individuals providing care,” states Kara Mascitti, MD, St. Lukeʼs Medical Director of Health Care Epidemiology and Infection Prevention. “By helping keep our doctors, nurses and health care teams safe, it helps prevent the spread to their loved ones and others.”

Conservation of these supplies is critical to fighting COVID-19. “We are about to run a supply chain logistics marathon and we are looking at creative, alternate solutions for supplies like masks,” states Augustine.

The masks currently being printed at St. Lukeʼs could be custom-fitted to an individual’s face, maximizing protection. Due to the materials they are printed with, she and her team are researching options for sterilization and reuse.

Because of COVID-19, we are seeing a strain on the supply chain – we are asking ourselves ‘how do we rethink the manufacturing of these items?’” states Michael Gorski, PhD, MBA, owner and founder of Filament Innovations, a 3D Printer manufacturer in the Valley. “This process is showing what local manufacturing can do right here in the Lehigh Valley by utilizing 3D Printing, an advanced manufacturing method. We all want to do what we can for our community.”

“The care of our patients is number one,” reiterates Augustine. “This [pandemic] is a reality for all of us – we are working with everyone to be prepared for a potential shortage. We are always looking for innovative ways to provide care and we are doing it.”

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