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Rock Island Arsenal 3D prints PPE for COVID-19 relief

Rock Island Arsenal engineers are using 3D printing technology to create personal protective equipment as a reponse to the COVID-19 pandemic. (KWQC)
Rock Island Arsenal engineers are using 3D printing technology to create personal protective equipment as a reponse to the COVID-19 pandemic. (KWQC)(KWQC)
Published: Apr. 17, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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The Rock Island Arsenal is joining the fight against COVID-19.

Engineers at its Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center are 3D printing personal protective equipment to aid the national shortage.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) joined U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy to tour the manufacturing center on Friday.

“Sixteen months ago this building was empty,” McCarthy said. “The men and women on this island have turned this extremely quickly.”

Senator Durbin called 3D printing some of the most ‘sophisticated advanced manufacturing technology in the world.’

Face shields and ventilator cases are just a few pieces of medical equipment being created at the facility since March.

“We’re potentially looking at swabs for test kits,” U.S. Army Colonel Martin Hendrix said. “That’s something that could possibly be printed here.”

“I want the Rock Island Arsenal to be producing the ventilators for the immediate pandemic but also the future,” Senator Duckworth said.

This PPE will help those on the front lines saving lives across the country.

“This arsenal has been a facility America has counted on time and time again,” said Senator Durbin. “In time of war, in time of need, it’s this arsenal that came to the occasion.”

The manufacturing center is 1.5 million square feet. Now its extra space is being looked at for ways to help fight COVID-19.

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