United Nations Covid-19 Response
United Nations Covid 19 Response M6 Oz Nfmo2 Dk Unsplash 5f5a4485ae496

Testing a Growing Need

Sept. 10, 2020
Print Parts Inc. announces delivery of over 1 million 3D-printed nasopharyngeal swabs to support NYC COVID-19 testing.

As COVID-19 testing continues to ramp up globally, the need for test swabs continues to stress traditional supply chains. Collaborations between various hospitals, non-profits and 3D printing companies have proved instrumental in filling the void -- a void that is sure to intensify in coming weeks as the flu season adds to the demand for test swabs. 

New York City-based Print Parts Inc., an additive manufacturing service, announced a major milestone, having provided more than one million nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs for use in NYC  COVID-19 test kits.

To manufacture NP swabs, Print Parts opened a dedicated ISO 13485-compliant medical manufacturing lab in Manhattan, in collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H), the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, and Collab, a Brooklyn-based fabrication lab.

In early April, recognizing New York's critical need for testing kits, Print Parts began collaborating with NYCEDC to create a local supply chain to support New York City's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a matter of weeks, Print Parts and NYCEDC consulted with medical professionals from various NYC hospitals to validate a 3D printed swab. Print Parts quickly opened a dedicated lab and expanded its additive manufacturing capabilities with the purchase of eight industrial-grade Envision One cDLM 3D printers from EnvisionTEC.

Print Parts is producing NP swabs based on a clinically validated design from EnvisionTEC and Harvard Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston.

COVID-19 testing kits consist of two main components: a collection swab and a tube of viral transport medium (VTM), a liquid that preserves the collected sample while it is transferred to a lab for testing. Albert Einstein College of Medicine produced the VTM based on a recipe from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Collab assembled these components into completed kits for NYC medical facilities.

"We are proud that we were able to quickly scale from our core business of production parts for industrial clients to producing NP swabs for NYC during this crisis," said Robert Haleluk, founder and CEO of Print Parts. "Additive manufacturing has been given a chance to prove its value by rapidly adapting and providing on-demand production to serve as a solution for an unexpected supply chain disruption."

Print Parts was among a group of 12 innovative companies that were supported by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and Empire State Development (ESD) as part of a program to get New York-based manufacturing companies to retool production for COVID-19 critical supplies.

"The response to COVID-19 has been a truly collaborative effort and we thank our partners for accomplishing in a few weeks what would have taken many months using conventional methods," continued Haleluk. "NYCEDC did an amazing job pulling together a group of innovative companies to make these test kits and our own NP swab operation was made possible by a network of overflow partners, logistics and sterilization providers, and equipment vendors who mobilized to support our efforts."

In order to meet the continued demand for test kits, Print Parts is now developing a domestically produced injection-molded NP swab that will allow for high-volume production.

"Additive manufacturing is a great solution for bridging the gap between a sudden market need and the deployment of traditional manufacturing methods," said Haleluk. "Additive manufacturing systems can be rapidly deployed to print parts on demand, with minimal change over time. However, to achieve high volumes and competitive unit economics, a move to injection molding is the logical next step."

About the Author

IW Staff

Find contact information for the IndustryWeek staff: Contact IndustryWeek

Sponsored Recommendations

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of IndustryWeek, create an account today!