While the State of Texas is, for the moment, less impacted than many other states with significant urban populations, continuing to maintain the relatively low coronavirus infection rates will be vital as its citizens return to more normal activities, and as businesses re-open. Access to PPE (personal protective equipment), such as face masks, plays an essential role in the successful and sustainable emergence from the shelter-in-place order for the citizens of Texas and the economy – the 10th largest in the world.
As COVID-19 brought about disruption of the global supply chain, Texas was not alone in facing challenges in acquiring critical PPE. However, under Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s leadership, the State has taken back control of the supply chain with the help of Additive Manufacturing (also known as 3D printing).
Essentium, a leading provider of industrial-scale 3D printing, is working with the Texas Division of Emergency Management, the Texas Military Department and other groups at a State level to supply PPE. The company has shifted capacity in its Texas operations to produce protective face mask kits based on FDA emergency use authorization. The reusable mask frames are made with Essentium PA (thermoplastic nylon), which allows for easy cleaning; and are used with a single-use, replaceable filtration media that is ASTM Level 2 certified.
To date, Essentium has produced more than 60,000 3D printed face mask kits for the State of Texas. As each kit comes with replaceable filters, it represents the equivalent of providing between 1.9 to 3.8 million individual masks.
Said Blake Teipel, Ph.D., CEO and Co-founder, Essentium: “The State of Texas is creating a potential blueprint for sustainable access to PPE. We are proud to be part of this initiative, and I commend Governor Abbott’s visionary leadership in setting a path of clarity and water-tight coordination in its creation and ensuring it is subject to the highest level of oversight.”