Charles R. Goulding and Lara Tomiko look at the need for Poland to unleash some of its 3D printing capacity due to recent events.
As of writing this, over 2.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine and entered Poland. The number of refugees in Poland has exceeded the population of Warsaw, Poland’s largest city.
Poland has a population of 38 million and is considered a high-earning economy by the World Bank. The country ranks approximately 20th in the world by GDP. Poland has a very strong 3D printing sector with over 40 companies engaged in the 3D printing industry.
The millions of Ukrainians that crossed the border came only with the clothes on their backs and small bags with few belongings. Most are women and children since men 18-60 years old are barred from leaving and instead remain in Ukraine to take up arms and defend against Russia.
This 2.5-million-person (and still growing) group is going to need almost every household and personal item which can often be 3D printed. Local 3D printing is particularly important since Poland has the capability, with many major 3D printer manufacturers and materials providers located in the country.
Meanwhile, the global supply chain disruption makes obtaining many items on an immediate basis problematic. With this humanitarian crisis, Poland will have to leverage all opportunities such as 3D printing to accommodate the influx of refugees that the country has and will continue to experience.
Military Staging Area
The long common border makes Poland the ideal staging area for the Western equipment needed for Ukraine to fight. Necessary equipment includes fighter planes, helicopters, tanks, howitzers and other armaments. This equipment will also need field replacement of worn parts. 3D printing has much to offer due to its portability, flexibility and readiness.
Having a robust 3D printing industry in a contiguous country during a war is a powerful asset. Hopefully, Poland will turn to 3D printing for expedited refugee relief, and the Western 3D printing industry will make obtaining materials and repair units a priority for shipment to Poland.