Portugal: Team at Lisbon’s Nova University 3D printing face masks for hospitals

The Faculty of Science and Technology of the Nova University of Lisbon has brought students and teachers together and set up an assembly line to produce protective masks for health professionals, the institution announced Wednesday.

In a statement, the college states that, under ideal conditions, it can print in three dimensions (3D) about 100 masks per day, which are being distributed to hospitals in Lisbon, Cascais, Almada, and Vila Franca de Xira.

Each mask takes two hours to be produced. About 30 volunteers, among professors and doctoral and masters students, are organized to ensure that the 12 printing machines available work uninterruptedly.

“Two-person teams are organised in shifts to supervise and monitor the production process,” explains professor and researcher at the Faculty of Science and Technology (FCT Nova) Telmo Santos.  

The team working on the initiative of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department and of FCT Fablab is also responsible for managing hospital orders and distribution logistics.

Besides the hospitals, the faculty also receives orders from a group of nurses who are distributing materials and protective items to health professionals at several hospitals in Barreiro, Setúbal and Montijo.

This assembly line is one of several initiatives that FCT Nova has launched to provide support on different fronts during the covid-19 pandemic.

Another example is the Beyond COVID19 project, which aims to bring together the academic community and put into practice ideas for solutions in areas such as economics, education and health.

The higher education institution is also supporting an initiative of the neuroscientist João Nascimento, the #ProjectOpenAir, for the creation of ventilators that can be manufactured locally and en masse, and the vent2life.eu platform, dedicated to the identification and repair of ventilators that are not being used.