Czech innovations are of global importance

Even the US Navy has technical data for the Czech respirator with the highest degree of security. The Czech Republic is leading by example in the self-sufficient production of protective equipment, to which it also motivates other states. When the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University (CIIRC CTU) developed a completely new protective CIIRC RP95-3D half mask - respirator on a special 3D printer and certified it in one single March week, it raised a wave of appreciation and deserved attention to the progressive approach of Czech scientists. Similar projects are a proof that stronger support for innovation is of great importance, and in the very first days they were supported by the Czech Rise Up program, which aims to help the Czech industry and economy build on the added value and cooperate globally.

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Even the US Navy has technical data for the Czech respirator with the highest degree of security. The Czech Republic is leading by example in the self-sufficient production of protective equipment, to which it also motivates other states. When the Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics of the Czech Technical University (CIIRC CTU) developed a completely new protective CIIRC RP95-3D half mask – respirator on a special 3D printer and certified it in one single March week, it raised a wave of appreciation and deserved attention to the progressive approach of Czech scientists. Similar projects are a proof that stronger support for innovation is of great importance, and in the very first days they were supported by the Czech Rise Up program, which aims to help the Czech industry and economy build on the added value and cooperate globally.

The much-needed device that will reliably protect professionals in the toughest clinical operations has aroused considerable interest around the world. Currently, files for 3D printing have been downloaded by 89 institutions or companies in 31 countries. Czech dataset researchers have provided the “open source” that is available for free use worldwide on the website https://rp95.cz/. However, the Czech Republic goes even further. After launching the serial production on the principle of injection moulding machines in the Czech Republic, it offers sharing the know-how and assistance in the introduction of production even to foreign countries.

In the current situation, the MIT is trying not only to monitor, but also to support the creation of such innovative products and solutions. “Similar projects are proof that stronger support for innovation is of great importance, and that we were able to adapt to the new situation and actively search for and interconnect the suitable partners, ideas and technologies. The 3Dees´project, which is focused on further development of 3D printing of these respirators, was one of the first supported in the Czech Rise Up program” says Petr Očko, Deputy Minister for Digitization and Innovation. He was involved in the first days in the creation of the Czech Rise Up program, which aims to help the Czech industry and the economy put innovation into practice, build on added value and cooperate globally.

This is confirmed by Jaroslav Lískovec on behalf of the technological start-up, the Trix Connections company, which takes care of further development of mask production abroad. “Various organizations from smaller manufacturers, specialized 3D printing centres up to the international corporations and public institutions have shown interest in the data” says Jaroslav Lískovec, adding: “Most of the organizations are clearly from the USA, followed by Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, but also Finland and Italy. We are in contact with a number of institutions. For example, the largest clinical research hospital, the Mayo Clinic, also has 3D mask data. The versatility of the solution and the speed of development of the mask were also appreciated by the US Navy. We are pleased that other countries can be inspired by the Czech example in this way. I would like to emphasize that the CIIRC RP95-3D half mask is a truly functional product that can be adapted to the individual conditions given in each country in terms of the availability of external filters. That is what we thought about when developing the mask and providing the data. Any owner of a 3D printer with Multi Jet Fusion technology can easily customize the attachment to attach a filter, being available in their country, to the mask.”

The rapid development of the mask has shown that the Czech Republic is a dynamic innovative country with a functional technology transfer that successfully applies approaches and now accelerates the technology transfer and digital forms of production, using modern forms of advanced production, including additive manufacturing. This is possible thanks to the progressive approach of Czech universities, research organizations such as CIIRC CTU with the support of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, CzechInvest and industrial companies that helped with the entire certification process, project coordination and inclusion among the Czech priorities related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In close cooperation with industry experts, it is now possible to produce many thousands of pieces of the RP95-M mask per day, which provides the highest FFP3 level of protection. The shape of the mask had to be adjusted so that it could be made in a plastic injection mould. This was possible thanks to the long-term cooperation of the state, the academic sphere and Czech engineering companies. The coordination was entrusted to the new start-up company Trix Connections. Not only data for 3D printing are now available, but also know-how and assistance with the introduction of serial production on injection moulding machines abroad on the basis of a license purchase. Such an open and supportive approach is truly unique, and it is clear that Czech companies are not afraid to be progressive and innovative even in finding and setting new business models.

Not only this example confirms that the Czech Republic has a huge innovation potential and creative people with a greater willingness to unite and cooperate, which shows that we can be “The Country For The Future”, a country that can help even in times of crisis, quickly and effectively respond and “export” innovations. “We are constantly working to further transfer technologies and products that help combat the coronavirus pandemic. The Czech Republic has a great potential in innovation, which is a very important way to strengthen the economy, self-sufficiency and lead by a positive example. For us, similar projects are proof that stronger support for innovation is of great importance in raising the Czech industry and the new economy, building on added value and cooperating globally in the offer of strategic products and their exports. In this regard, we want to initiate other financial instruments to further strengthen the whole process. As a small country, we are an example in many projects where we can be a model and inspiration on the global scale” stated Robin Čumpelík, Coordinator for the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic.

In addition to the mask, preparations are underway for other technological projects that will contribute to the development of the innovation potential of the Czech Republic during the coronavirus pandemic. Examples involve the family company LabMediaServis from Jaroměř, which produces test culture media, or the Isolit bravo company, which has started the production of “swabs” for taking nasopharyngeal samples to replenish emptying stocks around the world. Another successful project is Your Pass‘s Covid-19 digital card, which provides validated health information via mobile phones and is used by almost 1.2 million citizens.

Other inspirations with innovative approaches to the pandemic, such as the printing of 3D protective shields, which are the subject of activities of dozens of workplaces in the Czech Republic alone, are clearly visible abroad. They smartly use technologies for design, special constructions and rendering up to the final products. The Masks4All campaign, i.e. wearing face masks for the purpose of mutual protection, where everyone who wears a mask does not primarily protect oneself, but his/her surroundings. This campaign not only provoked a wave of mutual help with sewing masks and their use, but also improved awareness through the publicity in the media. Another smart response to the situation is the Covid-19 Digital Card, which was launched at the beginning of the epidemic in the Czech Republic as an initiative of Your Pass, a publisher and developer of mobile digital cards, and coordinated with the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Now the card has the potential for further expansion as the Covid passport of a kind, which can be used in the cross-border tourism to document the current health state of its bearer and to relieve the cross-border contacts both for commuters and the tourism.

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