We’re so proud of DocuWare Manager Research & Development Thomas Rath who oversees our Future Lab. He’s using a 3D printer provided by DocuWare, as well his own two printers, to make a part for the face shields that protect healthcare workers from exposure to infection.
Rath is working with Makers vs. Virus, a Berlin-based volunteer group that connects individuals and companies who can donate protective equipment with healthcare organizations that urgently need it. The organization only works with “makers” who will donate the items for free or offer them at cost. It’s not an official organization and provides the equipment without a warranty.
Rath read about the effort online. “Now there are more than 6,000 people in a group that meets on Slack. They’re from Germany, Austria and Switzerland,” he says. “My work at the Future Lab, where we explore new technologies that could benefit our customers, helped set me on this path,” he explains. “I also have friends working in hospitals or in the medical field. They’re lacking so much equipment and are often completely on their own when it comes to procuring it immediately.”
DocuWare assists Rath's efforts
“I asked for permission to bring DocuWare’s 3D printer home to use in addition to my own 3D printers. The company also enabled me to take home materials we had on hand in the lab and buy additional supplies. DocuWare Group Presidents Michael Berger and Max Ertl are very supportive,” he says.
Rath’s basement is the production headquarters where 3D printers are running 24/7. “The holders I make are attached to the face shields to secure them without additional support. I have the capacity to print 240 per day. Once I produce a sufficient number, I bring the parts to a central hub in Munich,” he explains. “We don’t have enough manpower to assemble the shields, so they put together kits that contain the components. Then other volunteers distribute the kits, on bicycles or by car, to hospitals and healthcare providers in the area.”
Rath also helps Makers vs. Virus participants who use the same 3D printer that he does by sharing the design tweaks he made to the prototype and giving advice on the correct settings, printing speed and material layer size. Rath found the design he uses on Thingiverse.com, a website dedicated to the sharing of open source, user-created digital design files.
“Every day more people and companies participate, and our capacity grows,” Rath says. "Whether they’re marketing our services, connecting with hospitals, producing equipment, sewing face masks or making deliveries, everyone does their part with a smile.” With DocuWare’s support, Rath plans to continue supplying this crucial part as long as the crisis continues, and it is in demand to protect healthcare workers.
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