Problems with access to protection materials to deal with COVID19 affect, like the virus, all countries. Technological companies reorient their production processes with industrial 3D machines to try to alleviate this shortage and one of them, Aenium, has decided to transfer a patent free of charge that allows the mass manufacture of mask filters worldwide.
This “startup”, located in the Boecillo industrial estate in Valladolid and with six engineers, is dedicated to the manufacture of 3D metal and plastic parts for the defense, aerospace and energy sectors. Big companies like HP and EOS have been working with them for a long time, but now in a new direction.
Aenium has been able to develop a methodology called “multivolume variable energy density” that allows a single industrial 3D laser sintering machine from the company EOS -like the ones they have and which is estimated to exist around 1,500 in all the world – can create approximately 3,000 of these filters every day, specifically the N95 certificates, which is the American certificate and which is between the FFP2 and European FFP3.
“And it is a very conservative figure, because there could be many more”, explained to the EFE Agency the director of R&D of Aenium, José Miguel Ampudia, who maintains that with all those machines that are in every corner of the world you could produce, depending on their model – since there are some larger than others – some 200,000 filters every day if they applied their patent, which is certified.
Competing and collaborating companies of Aenium from the United States and Europe have already contacted them to obtain this methodology and process that they are going to distribute through EOS, a global engineering services company with a presence in more than 40 countries and that works in strategic sectors such as energy, industrial and aerospace, among others.
The only condition for free access to this patent is the following: all companies have to donate free of charge the filters they produce to the health sector, which would have a significant impact when it comes to having protective material not only in Spain, but all over the world.
And they are willing to transfer this patent for three weeks, although they would extend this transfer for a longer time depending on how the pandemic evolves.
The method developed by Aenium is based on a procedure called “variable energy density” which, applied to a plastic / metal powder nanopore with a selective laser synthesizer, allows to create six-layer filters one millimeter thick that can later be inserted into masks created by 3D machines -which HP already works on- or even in filtering components of respirators.
José Miguel Ampudia explains to Efe that Aenium has stopped all its research processes that were developing until the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic to focus on this methodology that they want to share with the rest of the world to facilitate the arrival of medical supplies to hospitals.
“We have been without billing for more than a month. We are focused on this,” declares Ampudia, who adds that his relatives work in the health and social sector fighting head-on against the virus.
And they, this Valladolid startup of six engineers with Spanish, French and American capital, has thus wanted to contribute this grain of sand in the form of filters so that companies around the world can manufacture them and thus solve the shortage of protection materials.