Upstate Medical University had a desperate need for connectors that would enable a Bi-level positive airway pressure (Bipap) machine to have the expiratory gas filtered in order to function like a ventilator. The ability to use a Bipap machine as a ventilator has been used by hospitals in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. An urgent request from Jen Carey, Associate Administrator, went out through Upstate’s CNY Biotech Accelerator to their expansive collaborative innovation ecosystem and was answered by the Associate Director of SUNY Binghamton’s Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC), Benson Chan.
Jen provided a photo of the connector which Benson then needed to design for 3D printing. He decided the need to use Nylon as the base material due to its toughness and durability - it is not brittle like PLA and can take more stress before breaking. However, the material is not easy to print with. Benson had difficulty with the first material tried and switched to White Nylon from Markforged and started printing which was better but not perfect. Benson placed a call to Markforged which assisted with an alternate printing orientation. Benson needed to redesign the part in order to add material to make the connector more printable and tested the final result to confirm its function.
The Integrated Electronics Engineering Center (IEEC) is a NY State Center of Advance Technology. Benson notes the IEEC works with companies to solve problems in electronics and materials and have been using 3D printing to make fixtures for their labs and prototypes for customers. They have been supporting regional hospitals and other centers with COVID 19 needs are very glad to help.
For more information about IEEC: www.binghamton.edu/ieec