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America Makes, partners combat virus

YOUNGSTOWN — America Makes, the national additive manufacturing accelerator and innovator in Youngstown, is connecting manufacturers with the health care industry to quickly deploy resources to address the growing coronavirus pandemic.

It has launched a repository for additive manufacturers to upload 3D print designs to be reviewed and placed on the National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange.

The effort is meant to link the capabilities of additive manufacturers to the needs of medical workers on the front lines fighting COVID-19 and treating patients sickened with the virus.

“We have seen so much innovation throughout the additive manufacturing industry related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” John Wilczynski, executive director of America Makes, said.

“The question we’ve repeatedly been asked is, ‘Are these products safe and reliable in a health care setting?’ The design portion of the repository seeks to put clarity around that question for both manufacturers and providers. We believe it is a critical part to allowing the additive industry to effectively meet the needs of front-line health care workers.”

America Makes is partnering with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health.

Designs uploaded to the repository will be put on a fast track for review. Designs not submitted through the America Makes process may not be considered for the fast-track workflow. All designs will be accessible publicly through the NIH 3D Print Exchange website.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who secured the initial funding for the center in 2012, praised the initiative to address the shortage of personal protective equipment.

“Our nation has a severe shortage of the personal protective equipment that our first responders and health care workers desperately need to protect themselves and their patients. We need to leverage the full force of American manufacturing to meet this challenge … Northeast Ohio’s deep history of manufacturing excellence and relentless drive make our community the perfect hub to innovate our way out of this crisis,” Ryan, D-Howland, said.

More information on America Makes’ response to the virus is available at americamakes.us/covid-19.

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