In recent weeks, many Czech companies have shown solidarity and an innovative approach. In addition to their usual activities, they have joined forces in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Over the course of a month, for example, the companies Fanuc, Acam Solution and Nejkov, the CEITEC research centre of Brno University of Technology and FabLab initiated cooperation and manufactured thirty thousand face shields, which they donated free of charge to schools, preschools and medical facilities. The companies and research facilities were brought together by CzechInvest.
The process began with cooperation between the FabLab digital workshop and CEITEC. Know-how in the area of printing shields was transferred from Prusa Research to FabLab, which was able to print two hundred shields per day. Thanks to cooperation with CEITEC, led by Professor Luďek Žalud, it was possible to increase capacity to two thousand units. However, the researchers soon encountered a shortage of material. “Printing one shield on a 3D printer took approximately an hour and a half. Furthermore, practically all of Europe began running out of PETG material, from which the shields are printed,” says Professor Žalud, describing the problems faced by his team of researchers at CEITEC.
With CzechInvest’s assistance, the science team connected with Fanuc and Acam Solution. Thanks to Fanuc, production could be moved from 3D printing to an injection moulding machine. Acam Solution enabled the production of a suitable mould, which was rapidly manufactured by the Nejkov tool shop. The technical university provided chemistry laboratories and students who helped with operating the machines. “This outstanding initiative shows how Czech companies, researchers and universities are able to rapidly respond to the current needs of society and to get new technology among the people in a matter of days. I am pleased that in such a situation we can help institutions to open doors to companies and help implement important projects,” adds Patrik Reichl, CEO of CzechInvest.
There was tremendous interest in the product. Through a public order form, FabLab received 6,127 enquiries, and the companies subsequently processed 691 orders and distributed 36,127 shields, mostly to physicians at medical facilities and to children and teachers at schools and preschools. However, shields were also delivered to filling-station personnel and employees of the observatory and library in Brno.
About CzechInvest CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of comprehensive support for business and investments. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of its services and its ability to connect global trends with the regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s primary objectives is the transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The agency was established in 1992.
CEITEC is a research centre focused on life sciences and advanced materials and technologies. It was established in 2011 on the foundation of six major universities and research institutions in Brno. Since its establishment, it has been successful in building a significant science centre and now ranks among the top European institutions. CEITEC’s main priorities include maintaining a motivational and dynamic international scientific environment, ensuring a modern research infrastructure corresponding to the highest standards, and a policy of open communication and equal opportunities not only now, but also in the future.
About ACAM Solution
ACAM Solution is a leading Czech supplier in the field of integration of robots and development of technological equipment and software in the area of industrial automation. The company has been in operation since 2014. Its clients include not only major companies such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Olympus, Škoda Auto and BOSCH, but also small and medium-sized enterprises.
About FAbLab Brno
FabLab Brno is the largest public digital workshop in the Czech Republic. It was built on the premises of the South Moravian Innovation Centre, which has long been striving to develop business in South Moravia. The workshop can be used by anyone upon registration. Local start-ups’ product prototypes, projects of DIY enthusiasts and students, and artworks are created in the workshop, whose purpose is to make expensive tools available to the public for a minimal fee.