MercyOne Northeast Iowa greatly appreciates the generosity and innovation of the Additive Manufacturing Center at the University of Northern Iowa. This team used critical thinking and 3D printing technology to produce 30 hoses for powered air-purifying respirators (PAPR) that have been hard to obtain due to high demand during response to the novel coronavirus.

PAPR is part of the personal protective equipment for health care workers helping patients with COVID-19. “We had an urgent need for these hoses as they were in short supply around the country. The team at UNI really helped us out by taking our existing hose and reverse engineering what we needed,” said Mary Jo Kavalier, site administrator of MercyOne Cedar Falls Medical Center.

The team at UNI’s Additive Manufacturing Center (AMC) took the specifications from the existing hose and programmed the part into their computer systems to print new items. “We’re happy the equipment and expertise at the UNI Additive Manufacturing Center could be used to help protect the courageous medical workers who are working hard to keep us all safe,” said AMC director Jerry Thiel. “It was a team effort — administrators, staff and students at UNI all played a role in providing these parts for MercyOne.”

“We greatly appreciate the University of Northern Iowa for meeting our need,” said Kavalier. “This group did not make any money on this project and did all the leg work to find what was needed to create this item and make it work!”