In order to raise funds to help supply medical equipment, such as goggles, face shields, masks, etc., manufactured by a network of 3D printers, the Miguel Hernández University of Elche (UMH) has launched a patronage website to coincide with its “Support for Combating the Effects of COVID-19 in the Province of Alicante” project. This portal can be consulted at https://mecenazgo.umh.es/, and the project has already been kick started with 68,605 euros that UMH personnel have donated to the cause.
This project consists of three main lines: supplying medical equipment manufactured by 3D printers (goggles, face shields, masks, etc.); purchasing equipment; and COVID-19 research and development. As for supplying medical equipment, the project aims to acquire raw materials that are needed for this production by a network of 3D printers managed by the Scientific Park, which has already begun manufacturing medical equipment that is urgently required at hospitals, medical centers, etc. One part of this manufacturing network is the 3D printer farm located at the university, and another is made up of the homes of UMH students, alumni, and faculty, and the firms that are collaborating in this cause. New supplies of raw materials used for this manufacturing are delivered to the collaborators as the medical equipment that has been manufactured is collected, thanks to collaboration by Spanish Civil Defense units. The manufactured equipment is then dropped off at collection points set up by the Ministry of Health of the Generalitat Valenciana for subsequent delivery to the locations requesting them.
Regarding the purchase of equipment, this project is using sixty-five 3D printers that belong to both the UMH and other collaborators, mainly university students and alumni, who have graciously made their equipment available to this project. Despite the main objective consisting in acquiring raw materials to begin producing medical equipment, it is occasionally necessary to have some equipment to enable responding to new needs quickly, such as producing replacement parts for ventilators.
Lastly, we mustn’t forget that the this university’s main purpose is to conduct research, both for the continuous improvement in the designs of these medical products, shoulder to shoulder with and under supervision of medical teams at hospitals, as well as for immediately responding to new needs that arise in sectors whether medical, social, economic, etc.
From the very beginning, the UMH has been focused on fighting coronavirus. In addition to setting up the patronage website and donating funds raised by both the very institution and its employees, the university has fostered numerous actions such as sharing spaces and equipment, donating medical equipment, and forming teams of volunteers.
A promotional video of the UMH patronage website can be seen at https://youtu.be/oz00e8SeuYc.