Sinclair, Altavian partner to use 3-D technology to print masks

Drone manufacturer Altavian and Sinclair College have partnered to rapidly produce and freely distribute N95 equivalent masks to front-line medical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sinclair and Altavian will work collaboratively to make sure masks are available to local providers and in areas of need nationally, according to Sinclair spokeswoman Deena John.

She added that the state-of-the-art 3D printing equipment in Sinclair’s National UAS Training and Certification Center lab is being used to produce mask shells and filter caps 24 hours a day prior to final assembly and ultimate distribution coordinated through Altavian.

These masks are reusable with replaceable filters, which can perform up to an N99 level (filters at least 99% of airborne particles) and are designed to withstand heat sterilization.

Steve Johnson, president of Sinclair College, said the use of technology and the teamwork involved will help need a critical need during the coronavirus outbreak.

“I’m proud of our team at the UAS center for leveraging existing partnerships, their expertise and technology to meet a critical need during this pandemic,” Johnson explained. “We are responding to the needs in our community and nation however we can. These are challenging times and we’re glad to be able to provide hospitals with the medical supplies and equipment needed during this time.”

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Thomas Reed is the founder and chief production officer at Altavian, which is based in Gainesville, Fla., and he said the collaboration between his company and Sinclair will have an immediate impact on medical professionals that are combating the coronavirus.

“As a group, we are trying to make an immediate impact for the medical professionals on the front line. Sinclair has been a huge help and resource in helping scale this project in such a short time frame,” Reed said. “Altavian is incredibly appreciative of Sinclair’s immediate response and their willingness to help in any way they can on this effort.”

In total, Sinclair has already donated nearly 46,000 individual PPE items to local hospitals. This includes N95 masks, goggles, caps, sleeves, foot covers, coveralls with feet, and hazardous waste bags.

The college also donated nine ventilators and more than 430 and other pieces of medical equipment.

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