Mayor recognizes LOU COVID Rapid Response Group for collaborative, innovative efforts to manufacture PPE

October 29, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer today recognized the contributions of the LOU COVID Rapid Response Group to helping combat the COVID-19 pandemic through the manufacturing and distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) starting in March. The group is a collection of manufacturers, suppliers, universities and individuals designing and manufacturing or 3D printing PPE for hospital systems in more than 10 states.

“Since the start of the pandemic, the LOU COVID Rapid Response Group has used their time and talent to help combat the spread of COVID-19 through the creation of PPE. Because of the already collaborative and innovative manufacturing ecosystem in Louisville, this group was able to form and grow quickly to meet the demands for PPE,” said Mayor Fischer. “I want to thank everyone involved in the LOU COVID Rapid Response Group for their efforts to ensure our frontline workers had access to PPE as soon as possible.”

Since the spring, the LOU COVID Rapid Response Group has made and distributed more than 140,000 units of PPE, including face shields, 3D-printed test swabs, ventilator parts, N95 masks and other PPE innovations. In addition to more than 40 regional manufacturers and suppliers like GE Appliances, Clayton & Crume and Fast Radius, the group includes more than 160 individuals who have 3D printers in their homes, offices and classrooms.

“I am pleased and quite proud that the University of Louisville and this community of manufacturers came together to provide resources for our health care workers who are working so hard to care for all of us during this pandemic. This work is a great example of how the researchers and innovators at UofL translate their knowledge to provide an immediate, tangible benefit to our community,” said UofL President Neeli Bendapudi.

The LOU COVID Rapid Response Group tapped into existing partnerships between educational institutions and manufacturing and logistics businesses and created new ones that will persist into the future. Through the group, researchers and students at UofL found innovative new ways to create PPE, including laying out a blueprint for 3D-printed COVID test swabs and face shields, and manufacturers were able to use those to make the PPE in-house.

As with other industries, manufacturers’ and suppliers’ operations were negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. By pivoting to making and distributing PPE, these businesses were able to stay open and allow employees to continue earning a paycheck.

Mayor Fischer and President Bendapudi honored leaders and organizations within the group at an event at UofL’s AMIST (Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science and Technology) facility where some of the PPE is made. AMIST supports and promotes applied research, materials testing and professional training activities for clients from industry and government.

Noting that October is Manufacturing Month, the Mayor stated, “Manufacturing is an essential part of Louisville’s economy, and while the industry is undergoing changes related to the introduction of new technologies, manufacturers in Louisville have showcased, through this group and other partnerships, how nimble they can be.”

In Louisville, the manufacturing sector employs more than 81,000 workers regionally, working at approximately 1,500 manufacturing companies. The industry accounts for 16.5 percent of the region’s annual GDP, compared to 11.2 percent of national GDP.

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