It is yet another landmark achievement as Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, 3D Research and Training Centre has successfully deployed its new 3D research assets and expertise towards the production of masterwork 3D facemasks as commitment and contribution towards the prevention of the Coronavirus pandemic in Ebonyi State and Nigeria.
Coordinator, Ms. Nnodi presenting AE-FUNAI made 3D facemask to VC, Prof. Nwajiuba
As soon as COVID19 set in and was declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO), and in response to the clarion call for actions on prevention of the virus disease during the national press conference of March 13, 2020 on COVID19 hosted at the University Campus by the Vice- Chancellor, Professor Chinedum Nwajiuba, the 3D Research team at the AE-FUNAI/IMAPS Research Station, under the able leadership of Ms. Chiaka Adaure Nnodi, as Coordinator of the Centre swung into action to explore the solutions the 3D printer could proffer in the global crises, applying its addictive technology.
Describing the process as interesting, especially “as we are still on the learning curve”, the Coordinator and her team embarked on the project vigorously, with every commitment to achieve result. Following all details, first producing design for the 3D mask at the research laboratory and finally the state- of- the art AE-FUNAI brand 3D Face Mask, despite the initial challenges.
The 3D Mask Design on Display
AE-FUNAI/IMAPS Research and Training Centre, an initiative of Ms Chiaka Nnodi of the Fine and Applied Arts department, was established when VC, Prof Nwajiuba, on the 6th of April, 2018, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Steinbeis Institute for Material Applications and 3D Solutions (IMAPS).
The 3D Printer at the AE-FUNAI/IPMAPS Station
In his rationale for the establishment of the centre and the collaboration, Prof Nwajiuba affirmed that as we are in the era of 3D printing (Industry 4.0) and rapid industrial development, AE-FUNAI has to be a part of that process, asserting that ” we are training people that will operate at the global level”. The 3D printing or additive technology has been said to have so much great potential in the Medical, Engineering, Manufacturing, Fine and Applied Arts(Museums) and other relevant fields.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Nwajiuba has challenged the 3D Research Team, to try producing a prototype ventilator and the team has enthusiastically taken up the challenge and presently working on production of dental examination tools and will soon churn out samples.
It is worthy of note that the Centre has recently developed social media platforms that will showcase activities of the Centre online, and could be used for online training on 3D technology in the light of the present COVID19 challenges. This will make the centre accessible from anywhere in the world, through the links.
In her words of appreciation, Ms. Chiaka Nnodi, Coordinator of the Centre, made bold to state that the young but fast growing AE-FUNAI is fast becoming the driving engine of the 3D printing technology in the South East, and so a whole lot of interesting things will begin to happen at the Centre and University in terms of training, research and partnership. She attributed the success story to the visionary and development oriented leadership of Prof Chinedu Nwajiuba, as VC of the highly reputable institution.