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Injection Moulding Repurposing for Medical Supplies enabled by Additive Manufacturing

Project Summary

The modern world is fast-evolving, interconnected and highly mobile, posing a significant challenge in harmonizing risk mitigation measures against emerging biological hazards. For many years the risk of emerging infectious diseases with pandemic potential was declared a major threat to global health security and addressed by many stakeholders around the world. The delay in imposing risk mitigation measures is crucial and can make the difference between a local outbreak with few cases to a pandemic with countless sick and deceased citizens, as severely demonstrated by the recent COVID-19 outbreak. 

Immediate activation of national emergency response mechanisms and pandemic preparedness plans to ensure containment and mitigation of COVID-19 with non-pharmaceutical public health measures is critical in order to allow healthcare systems to prepare and cope with an increased influx of patients. However, shortages and other gaps in the global medical supply chain represent a mismatch of supply and demand. With healthcare workers and other first responders feeling the impact of supply chains disrupted by unprecedented challenges, many large and small businesses from outside the traditional healthcare procurement system are reconfiguring to mass produce critical medical consumables. 

IES' Role

IES will make available the iSCAN for manufacturing platform to handle data collected from the production lines via MQTT  communication.  The  time-series  data  output  by  digital  twins will  also  be uploaded  in  the  platform  via API, in combination  with  the  Machine Learning  algorithms  developed. This will allow remote virtual manufacturing monitoring, to support troubleshooting during production. 

Using  the IES  iDashboards tool  prototype,  a  Command  Centre  will  be  designed  for  each  pilot to visualise  the data  from  the  line  and  other  sources  connected  to  iSCAN, such as models developed by partners for forecasting (e.g. demand growth, production output, etc.) or simulated/optimised production data/setpoints; and the results of analytics carried out on this data, such as to raise alarms when thresholds are hit. The Command Centre will display the data through colour-coded graphs and KPI cards to provide the main information needed by pilot line managers to decide how to act & transform their production. 

Test Sites

  • Stilgomma: rubber and plastics, reusable respirators, masks; Castelli Calepio, Lombardy, Italy
  • Producta: manufacture of gaskets and extruded profiles, injection moulding for medical products; Montelupone, Marche, Italy
  • Elvez: specialized products for automotive industry, electrical and mechanical engineering, and white goods manufacturers; Visnja Gora, Slovenia
  • Pascoe: injection mould manufacturer; Paisley, Scotland, UK

Project Status