How Is HP 3D Printing Responding To COVID-19?

By on March 23rd, 2020 in Corporate

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The HP BioPrinter, ready to help in drug discovery and testing [Image: HP Inc.]

The HP BioPrinter, ready to help in drug discovery and testing [Image: HP Inc.]

As more 3D printing companies around the world mobilize their resources to help in pandemic, HP shares their plans of action for their digital manufacturing business.

Enrique Lores, President and CEO of HP Inc., has been sharing regular updates on the company’s strategies during this… let’s say unusual time. The spread of COVID-19 has been impacting business operations as well as healthcare and of course personal health of workers, and HP is seeking to stay on top of it all — and to spread their help in “a series of actions…to marshal HP’s technology and resources to help those in need.”

In an effort to ensuring customer and employee well-being, HP released a document (PDF) for its customers and partners — and with broader applicability — detailing “business continuity plans, how-to guides and other useful information pertaining to the most common requests we are receiving, including cleaning your PC or Printer, best practices when working from home, and tips for hosting virtual meetings.”

Beyond those sorts of DIY measures, HP is taking a few interesting steps through its various business channels. In addition to taking care of their own employees and extending warranty support, some of these steps include:

HP Foundation

Lores notes that the nonprofit HP Foundation will be dedicating “significant resources” for community response efforts.

The HP Foundation includes in its works a dedication to disaster recovery and resilience. Historically, the Foundation has worked with the American Red Cross and other well-known partners to “speed recovery and reconnect vital networks.” As the impact of COVID-19 continues to spread, the Foundation is establishing both global and local programs with partners and employees to donate and organize efforts. Details will be shared as these programs are finalized, Lores notes.

HP 3D Printing

HP is working with its own 3D Printing business as well as its Digital Manufacturing Partner Network “to design, validate and produce essential parts for medical responders and hospitals.”

Among these designs is the hands-free door opener that Materialise is offering free of charge. HP is also currently offering the design file available for a mask adjuster to relieve ear pain from medical personnel wearing masks often, designed by Peak Sport Products with HP. They plan to release more such designs as they become available.

“We will make available any HP proprietary design files for these parts so they can be produced anywhere in the world and are also helping end-customers bridge potential supply chain interruptions by expanding distributed print-on-demand capabilities,” Lores says.

HP BioPrinter

Lores’ memo also notes that the company is “deploying HP BioPrinters and associated supply cassettes, free of charge, to NGOs, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies to accelerate drug and vaccine research to combat COVID-19.”

HP’s…BioPrinter? Oh, yes.

It’s not a bioprinter as we know them, 3D printing organs and other structures from living cells. Rather, the HP BioPrinter is a dispensing device to test new pharmaceuticals. Here’s a look at the BioPrinter in action:

Based on HP’s inkjet technology, they say the HP D300e BioPrinter “accurately dispenses or ‘prints’ volumes from picoliters to microliters for faster, more reliable dispensing of small molecules and biomolecules to enable drug discovery, genomics, and proteomics research.” Official images of the BioPrinter have it labeled the “D300e Digital Dispenser.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been working with the device to develop new antibiotics. While the coronavirus is just that — a virus — and not bacterial, and thus will not use an antibiotic, the pharmaceutical testing technology may be key to HP’s stated intent to “accelerate drug and vaccine research” applicable to COVID-19.

Supplying the BioPrinters and accessories to the companies developing these pharmaceutical approaches to treating cases of COVID-19 is a strong step in supporting necessary efforts to combat the pandemic.

Staying Safe

Finally, Lores notes some of the wider measures to staying safe, and we’d like to simply underscore that these are across-the-board good ideas:

  • Social Distancing — Physically staying apart is one of the best ways to flatten the curve and help lessen the spread of disease

  • Working Remotely — As possible, all workers in all industries who are able to do so should work from home, and it’s good to see that HP is putting this out there as a required measure

  • Cancelling in-person meetings

  • More frequent cleaning

On top of staying safe, Lores and HP also underscore the importance of staying connected. Fortunately, with the latest digital conferencing capabilities, along with the good old telephone, today’s world is more connected than ever before and it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with business connections (and of course family and friends).

Via HP

By Sarah Goehrke

Sarah Goehrke is a Special Correspondent for Fabbaloo, via a partnership with Additive Integrity LLC. Focused on the 3D printing industry since 2014, she strives to bring grounded and on-the-ground insights to the 3D printing industry. Sarah served as Fabbaloo's Managing Editor from 2018-2021 and remains active in the industry through Women in 3D Printing and other work.