Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen a number of South Africans answer the call to assist healthcare workers during the COVID-19 outbreak and national lockdown. The latest firm to do so is HP, with it announcing a partnership with Johannesburg-based company, Mentis 3D, to 3D print essential medical gear.

This falls in line with the initiatives that HP announced from a global perspective in wanting to mobilise the 3D printing community.

“HP has produced more than 35 000 parts to date and growing, with partners and customers producing tens of thousands more. That number is scaling every day,” the firm noted in a press release sent to Hypertext.

“In South Africa, HP is collaborating with partner Mentis 3D in Johannesburg to increase production of 3D designs to meet the most urgent needs,” it adds.

To that end, HP says that initial applications being validated and finalised for industrial production include face masks, face shields, mask adjusters, nasal swabs, hands-free door openers, and respirator parts.

The firm is also coordinating with government, healthcare, and industry agencies to ensure a synchronised and effective approach, it continues.

“HP and our digital manufacturing partner are working non-stop in the battle against this unprecedented virus. We are collaborating across borders and industries to identify the parts most in need, validate the designs, and begin 3D printing them,” says Elisabeth Moreno, VP and MD of HP Africa Inc.

“Mentis 3D is working with partners to ensure healthcare providers receive much-needed PPE and parts required for the fight against Covid-19. We are the only 3D print farm in Africa with the technology that can deliver cost-effective and large-scale production runs. Our full range of HP MJF machines are currently running 24/7 producing the high volumes of medical materials that are needed. We are able to provide these services throughout Africa, so we encourage neighbouring countries to get in touch with us to assist with their requirements at this time,” adds Andrew Mentis, CEO of Mentis 3D, regarding the collaboration.

Along with this recently announced local partnership, HP says that the firm and its partners will be making the validated design files for several parts that do not require complex assembly, freely available from its website for download.

It is also asking 3D designers who wish to join the fight against COVID-19 to contribute new applications and ideas at this here.