Industry OEMs Use Innovations to Combat COVID-19

Face Shields and Ventilators Just Two of the Contributions

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04/06/2020

Christine Dunne

 

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Industry OEMs are using innovative technology and services—often outside of traditional print offerings—to help fight the spread of the coronavirus. The fast availability and development of relevant innovations from companies like Canon, HP, Konica Minolta, and Ricoh shows R&D efforts attuned to global needs.

 

 

Canon

Canon Medical Systems Corporation recently announced the availability of a rapid genetic testing system for COVID-19. In partnership with Nagasaki University and based on the loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) method developed by Eiken Chemical Co., the test was designed to detect the virus more easily and quickly compared to traditional methods. In fact, the entire test procedure—from preprocessing the sample to obtaining the test results—can be completed in just 40 minutes.

 

With the test now available, Canon hopes it will soon be used at a wide range of clinical sites in Japan as well as within other countries.

 

HP

HP announced last week that it and its global manufacturing community are using 3D printers to make face shields, hands-free door openers, and mask adjusters. At the time of the announcement, 1,000 3D printed parts had been delivered to local hospitals. Just one week later, more than 25,000 of these parts had been distributed—HP told Keypoint Intelligence Thursday. HP and its partners were working to ensure that the parts are available in all regions of the world.

 

The company is also testing other critical parts, including face masks and field ventilators, with plans to starting producing them soon. In addition to fulfilling parts orders, HP and its partners have made certain part designs available to the public, and are providing support with 3D parts application development.

 

Another way HP is using innovation to help fight the coronavirus is through deploying HP BioPrinters and associated supply cassettes, free of charge, to agencies and companies conducting relevant drug and vaccine research. A new offering from HP, these devices use inkjet printing technology to dispense pharmaceutical samples instead of ink.

 

Konica Minolta

In February, Konica Minolta announced it was donating eight units of its ultrasonic device, SONIMAGE HS1, to six hospitals in Wuhan, China. The devices were made available to intensive care units, which help monitor severely ill patients, including those with Covid-19.

 

According to Konica Minolta Business Solutions America, the medical division’s ultrasounds have seen significant demand in the United States in recent weeks—driven by the spread of the coronavirus. Portable in nature, they are easier to clean and less obstrusive than other ultrasound technology and can be used for initial chest exams in triage locations like temporary tents or mobile units.

 

Ricoh

Within the United Kingdom, Ricoh has offered to help produce ventilators for Covid-19 patients through 3D printing. This follows a call by the UK health secretary to increase the number of machines available to the National Health Service. According to Ricoh, the company’s 3D experts are on standby to design and produce any required parts at a moment’s notice.

 

The company has previously developed medical parts with 3D printing technology, including a lever-hinge mechanism for ankle-foot orthotics (e.g., supports), limb replacements, and surgical instruments.

 

Looking Forward

These and other industry OEMs have innovative technologies that could be used in the fight against the current pandemic. And on top of these innovations, manufacturers like Lexmark and Sharp as well as HP print service providers are producing protective face gear to help curb the spread of the virus. Xerox, meanwhile, just announced it would be joining forces with Vortran Medical Technology to make disposable ventilators for hospitals and emergency response units treating COVID-19 patients.

 

Within the office technology realm, continued development of products (e.g., printers, PCs, conferencing hardware), services (e.g., cloud-based software, affordable shipping), and bundled offerings for remote working can play an important role in keeping people home and safe.

 

Furthermore, ongoing development of healthcare document, workflow, and IT solutions—including telehealth solutions—can only help medical professionals more efficiently and safely perform their jobs in challenging circumstances like these.

 

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