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DECAP R&D is a Canadian medical company that is deeply passionate about protecting healthcare, research veterinary, and other frontline workers with protective equipment. In partnership with the UBC AMS and UBC Green Labs, DECAP R&D is currently conducting a first-in-the-world pilot project to recycle needle caps safely, saving up to 10% of single-use plastic from needles. With 16 billion needles used every year, this project has the potential to recycle up to 100 blue whales’ worth of plastic every year! DECAP is a set of 5 items that work to reduce needle-stick injuries. Needle-stick injuries can result in the spread of infectious diseases, such as HIV. These medical components require durability and excellent tolerances. PLA, although a basic material, has relatively high tensile strength, and low shrinkage, especially when printed in an enclosed environment. Having an enclosure, like the Guider 3 Plus, and Creator 4 FDM 3D printers that 3BA uses to make these components, allows for lower shrinkage rates, allowing for DECAPS threaded and sliding designs to function properly. Furthermore, the top functional component, which is responsible for the safe uncapping, and recapping of needles, requires two SLA 3D-printed inserts. These inserts require extreme dimensional accuracy in order to properly fit inside the FDM model
Figure 1. Guider 3 Plus with special DECAP parts
Figure 2. DECAP Set with needle
Traditional VS Additive Manufacturing Methods and Lead Times
Figure 3. DECAP set being used to recap a needle
Traditional manufacturing methods such as injection molding would require DECAP to spend tens of thousands of dollars on costly molds. Furthermore, injection molding often has long lead times, unlike the Flashforge Creator 4 and Guider 3 Plus 3D printers, which both possess the ability to print at high speeds.
Figure 4. DECAP functional piece prior to SLA inserts, printed on Creator 4 Pro
Finally, it allows for changing materials, and colors at a moment’s notice for evolving needs. For example, going green is important to the Canadian research community. That's why DECAP created the DECAP recycler - an all-green safe uncapping, recapping and disposal device to collect needle caps for recycling. The prints are pictured in various shades of green on the Guider 3 Plus and Creator 4. The Guider 3 Plus allows for rapid prototyping due to its fast single head print speeds, with normal mode clocking out at 100 mm/s. The Creator 4 Pro is used for mass production, due to the heated chamber, and IDEX systems. The heated chamber allows for ultra-consistent tolerances, while the IDEX system allows for two of the same part to be created simultaneously.
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