The Leuven-based 3D printing specialist Materialise has a solution that allows millions of rejected mouth masks delivered to Belgium to be used safely. It concerns a 3D printed brace so that the mouth masks, unlike before, are closely connected to the nose bridge and the rest of the face.
The reusable brace or 'Mask Fitter' is attached to an existing mask type KN95, a variant of the FFP2 mouth masks for the nursing staff. The attachment follows the contours of the face, allowing the mask to fit closely. The Leuven company claims that this way at least 3 million unusable masks can be 'saved'.
Tests by the IDEWE prevention service show that the modified masks more than meet the safety standards of the ATP protocol and can therefore be used safely by healthcare providers. The braces can also be easily disinfected in the hospital so that they can be used several times in combination with a new filter.
Hospitals, care centres and private individuals, who have insufficiently fitting mouth masks, can order the brace online. They are offered in four sizes.
The first braces have already been used by a number of Belgian hospitals, including the UZ Leuven.
Herman Devriese, head of the prevention and environment department at UZ Leuven, confirms that previously rejected mouth masks are now safe to use thanks to the braces. "By means of a number of additional adjustments, they also meet the demand for greater ease of use and comfort.
Minister Philippe De Backer, for his part, says: "I am very pleased that thanks to this good work by Materialise, we will now be able to supply our carers even better. "This is another example of fruitful cooperation between Belgian innovation and our health system", said the Minister.
Translated by Leuven MindGate