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Covid-19: How does your business fare? FabLab ULB/Fondation Michel Creme answers!

24 June 2020 - 16:52

How has FabLab ULB / Fondation Michel Cremer helped the Belgian healthcare system during the last weeks marked by the pandemic

In the last couple of months, the FabLab ULB, the ULB BEAMS department (biomedical engineering), and the Michel Cremer Foundation have helped different medical actors in Belgium to face the lack of medical equipment (due to the pandemic crisis) by developing, producing and supplying them with the different kinds of medical equipment they needed.

Can you illustrate your support by sharing some numbers with us?

7 different types of sanitary equipment have been re-designed: face shields, aprons, blouses, FFP2 adapters, decathlon and fireman mask adapters, swabs, and reusable masks.
110k aprons, 100k face shields, 30k FFP2 adapters, 1k blouses, and 250 reusable masks were produced.
Organizations reached: hospitals, rest and care homes, medical centers, palliative care centers, abortion centers, general practitioners, all medical and paramedical professions (nurses, kinesitherapists, dentists, physicians,  pharmacists), NGO’s like Médecins sans frontières, Médecins du monde, Fédasil, …, youth support services, municipalities, crèches, police, prisons, social sectors and today schools and educational institutions.

People involved: full-time (over 15 professors, researchers, students and engineers) and 1 or 2 times a week volunteers (+250 people)

Help from companies like : Fluxys and Besix, but also Pragma, Idart, CSTC,  Microsystems Concept and a lot of others…

Help from business federations : Essenscia, Biowin, Lifetech Brussels, Mecatech, Agoria, Finance Brussels to identify industrial partners as Imatex, Antalys, Quick tools, Dutra, Optima Pharma, …

What lessons have you learned during this particular period of time? Has something specific left an impression?

1) To not rely only on out of Europe production (China, …)
2) Do more local and reusable
3) The power of collaboration between engineers and doctors

4) The importance of collective thinking and work

Does this initiative be continued in the coming weeks / months ? (if yes, which kind of support would be useful?)

The initiative has evolved. The 4 main projects:
Face shields. Industrialized and ready to produce really fast (within days), a large number of face shields in Belgium. With the development of a mould, the Michel Cremer Foundation is now in capacity to let produce 3000 units per day and can easily reach 30.000/day with local raw material supply if necessary.

Aprons. To be externalized. Because it is not the purpose of University nor the Michel Cremer Foundation to produce aprons or other devices on a regular basis, the production  – performed during the crisis by  volunteers, – will be transferred to an entrepreneur on the basis of an agreement.
This entrepreneur will be responsible of the production, conditioning and distribution of the aprons within the technology developed.

Blouses. A short-term project will be developed funded by Belgian funds. The aim of this project is to produce a reusable blouse that could be deserved in Belgium and in Europe.

Masks. In the following months, a 15 people team will finish the development and industrialization process to provide citizens with an easy-to-produce and cheap reusable mask.

More info? https://michelcremerfoundation.eu/index.php/2020/03/31/covid-19/ or http://fablab-ulb.be/covid-19/