A Tampa company is continuing to help with the COVID-19 response. SynDaver recently announced it has begun shifting manufacturing resources to alleviate a massive shortage of respirator-type masks in the USA.
In early April, SynDaver, the world’s leading manufacturer of hyper-realistic, synthetic human and animal models for medical education, training and surgical simulation, made its first prototype with a 3D printer.
The company went on to offer the prototype for free online as a 3D printer template, which enables anyone with a 3D printer to make a safety respirator with commercially available filter materials.
The company then began to investigate ways to expedite production, and within an hour, thousands of masks had been ordered by local law enforcement agencies and emergency service providers across the state of Florida.
“We’re currently prioritizing orders for law enforcement, first responders, healthcare institutions and companies that have essential personnel interacting daily with the public, like grocery stores and gas stations,” said Dr. Christopher Sakezles, CEO of SynDaver. “We will be focusing purely on America first, when it comes to distribution. It’s also important to note that every aspect of our respirator has been sourced and manufactured in the USA. All components, down to the raw materials, are from the USA and the respirator itself will be assembled here in Tampa.”
The SynDaver employs MERV 13 filtration media that has been shown to filter out virus-carrying particles and the mask is also compatible with filter cartridges produced by other manufacturers. However, at this point, neither the SynDaver respirator nor the filter it comes with have been tested or certified by any accrediting agency.
According to Sakezles, the company plans to produce one million masks, emphasizing that, regardless of how many masks it produces, SynDaver will never price gouge nor sell to the highest bidder.
“We will be using traditional manufacturing methods to create these respirators,” said Sakezles. “Additionally, we designed a ventilator several years ago to work with our SynDaver Synthetic Human and we are looking into producing these as well.”
The first version of the mask costs $35 per unit, and bulk pricing is available. The mask is compatible with common commercial filters for other respirators, which feature a bayonet fitting. Additional mask designs are planned.