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BIW uses 3D printers to increase hand sanitizer availability for its workers

The 3D-printed device allows hand sanitizer dispensers to be easily refilled.

BATH, Maine — Editor’s note: You are hearing the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

Bath Iron Works (BIW) has partnered with Hardshore Distilling Company in Portland, which has converted a portion of its operation to manufacturing hand sanitizer, to make hand sanitizer more available to shipbuilders during the coronavirus outbreak. BIW has started 3D printing a device that allows dispensers to be refilled, increasing the availability of hand sanitizer for its workers.

"One of our biggest challenges has been obtaining packaging supplies to deliver hand sanitizer," Jordan Milne, founder and distiller of Hardshore Distilling Company, said. "Bath Iron Works helped us find ways to reuse packaging assets that already existed and therefore provide a solution to supply their team with the needed hand sanitizer."

Working with the facilities department, BIW's Advanced Concepts teams is using a 3D printer to make the device. 

Credit: BIW
A diagram of the 3D-printed refilling device.

Hand sanitizer bags are usually disposable, but because of extremely high demand for the product, the bags are harder to obtain. The 3D printed device serves as a port-filling adapter to refill bags from the industrial containers.

The BIW team also designed a version of the refilling device for the type of dispenser used at MaineHealth, the state’s largest integrated health care provider, enabling hospitals to refill the ones they have.

Editor’s note: The above video shows you how to make hand sanitizer. MaineHealth’s Dora Mills gives NEWS CENTER Maine the recipe.

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