Create it REAL joins project for fast response capability during health emergencies
The current COVID-19 pandemic has certainly demonstrated that there is a global need for enhanced preparedness that can rapidly restructure medical device manufacturing production capability. A new pan-European project must therefore ensure a stable and unparalleled production capacity which in the event of sudden demand, can be enabled very quickly, for instance, if a new pandemic occurs.
We have seen how the COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly across national boundaries and regions in 2020 and had a significant effect on the lives of people. Owing to the immense and acute need for critical medical equipment, the pandemic has placed the European production system under severe pressure – and the system has been unable to meet the requirements. It is on this basis that a new pan-European initiative was developed.
Eur3ka, an innovative abbreviation of ‘EUropean Vital Medical Supplies and Equipment Resilient and Reliable Repurposing Manufacturing as a Service Network for Fast Pandemic Reaction’, is the name of the two-year Horizon 2020 project. The ongoing outbreak has created urgent requirements, and it is almost a sprint project with a limited time horizon. More than 20 international partners, including Siemens, ATOS, the Fraunhofer Institute and the University of Oslo, will work together to improve integrated emergency preparedness for future threats to health. This must be accomplished through a production capability network consisting of effective and adaptable production methods, such as 3D printing, which can be activated for the manufacturing of vital and complex medical devices. Denmark, through the Teknologisk Institut, Dansk AM Hub, Create it REAL and SMV Automatik, is also represented in the project.
Create it REAL and secure printing
Create it REAL secure printing will be a vital part of this project. With secure printing, proprietary objects are stored as encrypted print files that are transferred to the real-time processor of Create It REAL, which decrypts the files in real-time. This provides the option of restricting the printing of an object to a certain number of objects, or a certain amount of time. Since we have end-to-end encryption, we guarantee the highest degree of security, from the cloud to real-time control. Therefore, secure printing can enable people to temporarily make their intellectual property available, in an easy and safe manner.
Conventional supply chains are insufficient
The European economy and manufacturing sector are now facing uncertain scenarios because of the current pandemic. Thus the WHO predicts that industry needs to raise production by 40 percent in order to satisfy increasing global demand, and governments are expected to act rapidly to increase supply. Companies respond in diverse ways to ensure operations and reduce supply chain risk – and some attempt to restructure their manufacturing capability in a creative way in order to raise revenue in other forms.
While some are attempting to address the problem nationally, it is predicted that the best chance of success is to resolve the issue on a global scale – this is also the Eur3ka project’s strategy.
The only solution in the immediate future is to get the existing manufacturers of medical devices (e.g. fans) to very rapidly produce substantially more units. The issue is that these businesses have already increased their output by 30-50 percent, and they alone will not deliver the 500-1000 percent growth needed to prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths globally.
The manufacturing industry is therefore facing a specific challenge and opportunity right now to lay the groundwork for a long-term and fast-responsive global production network capable of handling acutely increased demand for medical devices and supplies in a scalable manner.
Eur3ka is building on current initiatives
Today, through the global network of advanced manufacturing centers, a global response is already being developed. Eur3ka draws on these previous COVID-19 response initiatives, which seek to put together advanced manufacturing and digital catalysts to create resilience and reinforce rebuilding in the battle against present and future pandemics.
The Eur3ka project’s primary objective is to provide global and equal access to a coordinated pandemic emergency response capable of restructuring production capability. For this reason it is important to develop common references, such as manufacturing technologies, and last but not least, the need to build Eur3ka manufacturing networks and capacities across sectors.
These networks and their production capabilities should allow global manufacturing and supply chain functions to be connected, and provided with medical knowledge whenever the need arises. In this way, increased and unexpected demand for medical supplies and equipment will ensure a fast output conversion.
The Danish partners
Teknologisk Institut: In the project, the Teknologisk Institut focuses on rapid adaptation of production to new production lines – especially in 3D printing, where rapid conversion and adaptation are part of the basic premise. In addition, the Danish Technological Institute will help create procedures and policies for the components that manufacturers across the production network will manufacture.
Dansk AM Hub: With an extensive network, especially within the 3D print ecosystem and the producer environment in Denmark, Dansk AM Hub plays a key role in the project’s dissemination and the associated network activities.
Create it REAL: In the project, Create it REAL offers 3D printing technology, including high-speed 3D printing, secure printing and integration of 3D printing technology.
SMV Automatik: SVM operates a pilot demonstrator on modular production lines for a wide range of medical devices. Thus, SVM will work on validation and integration tests. At Eur3ka, SVM represents the machine supplier’s perspective – and provides inspiration for flexible and agile production equipment.