BIC introduces 3D printed door handles in the fight against coronavirus

The chance of being infected with the coronavirus via a door handle is small, but not impossible (RIVM).

That is also what Maarten van Dijk, founder of Additive Centre and Maikel de Wit, Director of Marketiger, thought when they developed a custom door handle. With this 3D printed handle, you can open the door with your forearm, and you don’t have to touch anything with your hand.

At Brainport Industries Campus, the first twenty doors in the common areas will be equipped with the 3D printed door opener today. Depending on new measures and the re-opening of schools after 6 April, several doors will follow at BIC. “The original design is an open-source design by Materialise, we have taken this to a new level with our 3D colour printers. The anti-corona handle is produced here on the BIC and rolled out for the first time. Companies are rather safe than sorry. They also think it is important that they show their customers that they do everything they can to ensure production,” Van Dijk says over the telephone.

Campus Director Erik Veurink also supports the initiative and expresses his pride. “Safety and health are of key importance to us. And we only applaud the fact that tenants are doing their bit in this difficult period. So even in this hectic and unusual situation, innovation at BIC continues “as usual”. That is why we commissioned campus management to install this door handle in all public spaces.

Marketiger prints the door handles in one piece and can include a variety of colours or a form of personalisation such as company logos. “For now, there will be a QR code linking to the RIVM website, so people who are at BIC can always check the latest information. But you can also print very different things on them. A scope of different door handles is produced in batches of hundreds at a time. That takes about a day.”

Solutions for a difficult situation

As in the rest of the world, activity at BIC is limited to an absolute minimum. But that does not mean that production is at a standstill. “Production companies such as KMWE and Anteryon are still physically in operation. Many companies have agreed to work from home as much as possible, which makes things a lot quieter at BIC. We also notice a big difference and try to come up with all kinds of solutions.”

For example, Van Dijk is working hard to make the curriculum for training in 3D metal printing available online. “Normally you sit together with engineers from different companies, but that is no longer allowed. We are now working hard to make teaching material digitally available so that engineers can do this at home and discuss their concepts via a conference call. It is also important that they receive feedback on this.

Time and opportunity, but also financial pressure

According to Van Dijk, the company receives more calls from companies that are missing certain parts. “They want to know if we can print it in 3D. Often these parts cost a few euros if ordered in series. If you are going to print these, it often costs a bit more. It depends on how essential such a part is whether it will be printed eventually. After all, to leave a machine standing still costs a lot of money.”

Van Dijk himself anticipated the situation early this year. “We noticed that certain parts were more difficult to get. We took advantage of this and contacted our supplier to ask whether, for example, there were still enough spare parts in stock. You don’t want things to grind to a halt. But it’s still a bizarre situation. You have to be creative and make the best of it. On the one hand, you now have the time and opportunity for that, but the financial pressure is still there. That combination forces you to do business.”

A special portal has been set up for urgent parts (medical but also other uses): www.additivecenter.com/hulplijn.