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  • Writer's picturejrothkop

Protect The Line: 3D-Printed PPE For Front-line Personnel

Updated: Jun 8, 2022

A newly formed initiative, Protect the Line is a collaboration of small businesses coming together to provide much needed personal protective equipment (PPE) to essential workers on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative, led by additive manufacturing company, FAMAero, was up and running within 7 days, delivering its first order to a VA hospital in Detroit. To keep ventilators running, a replacement part for the machines was designed within 24 hours, resulting in 200 pieces being manufactured and delivered in 72-hours. The group is bringing equipment to those in need by sidestepping the red tape. The initiative is under the statewide nonprofit, The Last Kilometer, an organization known for its work in Flint, Michigan during the water crisis.

“Sanitation workers, doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, grocery store employees, police officers, delivery drivers, and other essential personnel are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe,” said Don Doyle, Chairman and CEO of FAMAero and founding member of Protect the Line. “It’s time we return the favor and protect them when their organizations can’t. We are providing much-needed face masks, face shields and mask bands to all those that need them.”

Doyle and team established eight 3D printing pods throughout the country to begin mass-producing PPE due to the gap between suppliers and the people directly fighting the pandemic. The collaboration has produced over 10,000 pieces of PPE which has been distributed to VA Hospitals, health care systems, nursing homes, fire departments, police stations and more. Printing pods, utilizing Creality CR-10 printers, are making custom face shields and reusable Montana Masks with a replaceable filter. Protect the Line currently has 100 printers, averaging one shield every 120 minutes or approximately 50 per hour.

“We’re building a bridge to connect workers with the PPE they desperately need,” said Brandon Pender of Rumph Chiropractic and founding member of Protect the Line. “Healthcare workers are dealing with abysmal situations where they are being forced to share masks, reuse single-use masks, smuggle in PPE against health care system orders, all while making life and death decisions on behalf of their patients.” The initiative has set up a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of material, 3D printers and expansion efforts throughout the state. Protect the Line has delivered over 10,000 pieces of PPE, with many individuals driving hours to pick-up their own. “The system is broken, and lives are being sacrificed in the name of bureaucracy. It’s unacceptable,” said Doyle.

Protect the Line is a collaboration between FAMAero, Rumph Chiropractic, Air Advantage, MK Advisors, The Last Kilometer and 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications. “We formed the initiative because we could no longer watch our government fail essential workers. It isn’t just our state, we have been contacted by Wisconsin, California, New York, Louisiana and more to gain access to the PPE we are producing,” said Pender. For more information or to donate, go to About Protect the Line Protect the Line is a collaboration of small businesses coming together to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to essential workers on the frontline of the COIVD-19 pandemic. Made up of five small businesses: FAMAero, Air Advantage, Rumph Chiropractic, MK Advisors, The Last Kilometer, and 8THIRTYFOUR Integrated Communications, Protect the Line, works to sidestep the red tape to do what bureaucracy can’t. As a collaborative effort, Protect the Line aims to change the system and protect the essential workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe.

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