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The first fifteen pieces of the “CIIRC RP95-3D” respirator protector were handed over to the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic by the Czech Institute of Computer Science, Robotics and Cybernetics, part of the Czech Technical University in Prague (CIIRC CTU). During the weekend, the medical staff of Prague's Na Homolce Hospital tested them directly at work. The Facial mask production on special 3D printers can begin. Today, Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on this occasion. The goal is to get as many pieces as possible to hospitals as soon as possible. The process is coordinated in cooperation with the CzechInvest government agency, which, among other things, helped significantly speed up the certification process of this advanced respirator.

CIIRC CTU began the development of this protective device a week ago. The team of researchers involved in the European Center of Excellence RICAIP focused on developing a respirator printable on 3D printers using MJF (MultiJet Fusion) technology. What normally takes months has been resolved in seven days. In close cooperation with CzechInvest and other partners, the CIIRC RP95 has been certified as a FFP3 class respirator with removable external filters. The mask can be reused and produced on 3D printers anywhere in the world.

 “CTU is working on several programs that help to solve the current crisis. We develop and manufacture lung ventilators, full face masks FFP3, develop a robot automating PCR tests for coronavirus, mix a large amount of disinfectant for the IRS, and develop a respirator with better protection than FFP 3, that is about to enter production. All development projects are entering production within a few days and I am glad that the respirator project has already launched from the starting line and entered production, ”says doc. Vojtěch Petráček, Rector of CTU.
“From the very beginning, the goal was to create a complete professional product that would be fully functional and comply with strict standards as quickly as possible,” prof. Vladimír Mařík, Scientific Director of CIIRC CTU, sums up the assignment and adds: “Our intention was to contribute to solving the current crisis situation. We have achieved success thanks to the extraordinary commitment of a team of top researchers, technological equipment, but also an inventive approach to problem solving. ” 

“We welcome the protective mask developed by CIIRC CTU. It is a solution that can help protect the most vulnerable field workers. We agreed with CIIRC CTU and the suppliers involved to deliver 600 pieces of these masks by the end of the week, ”said Adam Vojtěch, Minister of Health and indicated what was confirmed by the memorandum. “Since the beginning of April, this will raise to 500 pieces a day. At the same time, they are developing a way to increase production capacity to up to ten thousand units a day. All participating entities work on a voluntary basis, we will only pay for the material used in 3D printing. ”


Today's memorandum of cooperation was signed by the Minister of Health and Rector of CTU, Vojtěch Petráček, together with Trix Connection, a cooperating start-up of CTU  which is, as usual at leading foreign universities, responsible for ensuring cooperation with manufacturing companies and bringing research to successful implementation.


 “We are pleased to have successfully completed our first step. We have managed to prepare a model that will allow for quick use, ”explains Dr. Pavel Burget, Testbed Manager for Industry 4.0, adds: “We are working with a number of partners in order to start production immediately. Škoda Auto provided its capacity over the weekend and printed its first test batch. 3D Tech helped develop the mold for silicone gaskets. 3Dees Industries has set up the production line and helped with the prototype series. ”


CzechInvest managed to contact the manufacturer of external filters, the Czech company Sigma Group from Lutín. At the weekend, the CIIRC CTU team was handed over the first shipment of filters directly from the hands of the CEO of CzechInvest, Ing. Patrik Reichla. “The SIGMA Research and Development Institute in Lutín produces filters with a universal thread for which the half mask is adjusted. As we see it, it is also important that it is a domestic manufacturer. We will coordinate the next steps with the management of the company to ensure the supply of the appropriate number. ”


“During the development of the mask, we had to solve a number of problems and consultations with other experts helped us. For example, the team of František Mach from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen was involved in optimizing the design of the silicone exhalation valve, ”as Ing. Alexandr Lazarov from CIIRC CTU 3D laboratory explained the last demanding days of development.


Given that MJF technology is only available at a limited number of workplaces in the Czech Republic, scientists are now focusing on a respirator for mass production in the form of plastic injection. This will increase capacity and greatly expand the range of companies that will be able to engage in production. "Our next task for the next few days is to complete the mass production variant," says Dr. Vít Dočkal, head of the CIIRC CTU Project Office, adds: “We believe that thanks to this new series it will be possible to produce up to 10,000 pieces per day in the Czech Republic.”


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Photo: Roman Sejkot CIIRC ČVUT