Rapid Response Additive Manufacturing Initiative (RRAMI) – Mock Disaster Drill 1 | SCC

Rapid Response Additive Manufacturing Initiative (RRAMI) – Mock Disaster Drill 1

Published on Jan 19, 2021

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We have exciting news about our Rapid Response Additive Manufacturing Initiative (RRAMI). On February 1, at 9:00 a.m. EST we will be testing out our state-wide 3D printing production system for disaster relief. Watch the video above and visit the link below to learn more about this awesome project.

The Rapid Response Additive Manufacturing Initiative (RRAMI) project was developed by Eric Wooldridge and Heather Beebe of Somerset Community College (SCC) in Kentucky to enable a statewide, variable location, rapid 3D printing response in the event of emergencies such as COVID-19, natural disasters, or other calamities to manufacture substantial amounts of critical supplies. Products that would no longer be available due to a breakdown of the conventional manufacturing supply chain will be produced, such as personal protection equipment (PPE), hardware components, or vital tools.

The RRAMI system initially will be composed of four to six college sites across Kentucky that have significant quantities of similar low cost additive manufacturing (AM) equipment, trained experts, and located in regions of potential need. Through federal funding, the RRAMI project was green lit in the summer of 2020, sites were set up, staff was trained, and the system is now preparing for its first Mock Disaster Drill (MDD1) to occur at 9 a.m. EST on February 1, 2021. SCC will provide real-time data feeds of the MDD1 progress and results at https://tinyurl.com/y39qvftj.

The  RRAMI network includes five Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) sites, Somerset Community College (SCC), Jefferson Community and Technical College (JCTC), Owensboro Community and Technical College (OCTC), Madisonville Community College (MCC), and Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College (SKYCTC). The RRAMI Mock Disaster Drill will be a first of its kind test event to determine how quickly and effectively a well coordinated system of remote 3D printing production sites, with minimum operators, separated by hundreds of miles, can simultaneously fabricate products that would be necessary in an emergency event.

The Mock Disaster Drill will last 72 hours, and the test scenario involves a new strain of the Coronavirus that is once again shutting down the country. In this scenario, manufacturers are being forced to cease operations, and shipping routes are being closed, leading to another breakdown of the supply chain.

Personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, are no longer available. Essential workers at hospitals, nursing homes, emergency personnel, etc. are being put at risk due to their inability to receive adequate PPE. Per a request from the governor’s office, the Kentucky RRAMI network has been asked to respond in an effort to provide PPE to first responders and essential workers in Kentucky and beyond. Member sites of the RRAMI network will  use cutting edge AM technology currently utilized for education to instantly transition to disaster response and become part of a solution that truly makes a difference at the community level. The first test product during MDD1 will be 3D printed headbands that can be quickly assembled with plexiglass and elastic to form a face shield.   

As the RRAMI project lead, SCC will upload fully optimized gcodes for the project-specified 3D printers in the RRAMI network to a shared cloud drive. Using those files, the other RRAMI sites will begin production of headbands and collect production data for real time evaluation over the 72 hour test. This live data will provide valuable  information on production results for those interested in tracking unit quantity output, quality control, equipment specs, batching, speeds, success rates, etc. as well set a baseline for how fast the RRAMI network can fabricate products on-demand in an emergency situation.

“The RRAMI system is something that we have been passionate about and working toward ever since the COVID-19 shutdown began” says Wooldridge. “The ability to instantaneously utilize a multitude of 3D printers, across the entire state of Kentucky with only a single site operator, and all make the exact same product, is truly a breakthrough of manufacturing technology. As we continue to add more sites, just imagine the potential not only for emergency production support but also commercial fabrication. There could be a statewide, unified body manufacturing system that can produce in scalable volumes, and pivot from one product to the next almost instantly. It will represent a limitless opportunity for Kentucky.”