Coronavirus: Dubai 3D printing firm delivers vital support to frontline workers

Proto21 is producing crucial medical equipment and protective gear for police and healthcare workers

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A Dubai company is offering vital support to key workers fronting the UAE's fight against coronavirus.

Proto21, a 3D printing firm based in Jebel Ali, has transformed its labs into a busy manufacturing hub for essential personal protective equipment in recent weeks.

The forward-thinking team has already delivered more than 1,000 reusable 3D-printed face shields to be used by Dubai Police officers in the line of duty.

The business - set up two years ago - is also lending a crucial helping hand to the country's medics.

It has produced ventilator splitters, components which can be used to increase the capacity of ventilators.

In an effort to aid the UAE's health sector, Proto21 is also delivering Charlotte valves, used in reusable full-face snorkel masks, free of charge.

The devices have been widely used in hospitals facing equipment shortages in Italy after technology start-up Isinnova produced a 3D printed adapter that converts a snorkelling mask into an oxygen therapy device – a critical treatment of the most serious coronavirus patients.

Now the technology is being used to support medical facilities in the Emirates.

Pir Arkam, chief executive and founder of the company, said Dubai is provided a solid base for his company to grow.

“Dubai provides the most conducive environment for people willing to put in their best efforts. The support you get as a local manufacturer is enormous and I had a great opportunity to work with major government and private organisations in Dubai and the UAE to help meet their 3D printing requirements. In a span of two years, we have tripled our revenues and had exponential growth” he said.