The Future of PPE is 3D-Printing

Actually it’s not so such the future as it is the present.

An article in the Tech-times recently caught my attention. It seems that BMW is using 3D-Printing to print special ergonomic thumb shields designed to protect the workers from repetitive strain injury. The worker has his or her thumb scanned and then, using a 3D-Printer, BMW in Germany makes them a custom thumb shield out of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU).

Because these TPU custom thumbs become firm when straightened, workers don’t have to exert as much pressure to snap on parts, thus reducing potential injuries. Pretty cool, hi-tech, sci-fi kind of stuff!

The question, of course, then begs to be asked… “Is this the future of PPE?” Will we, at some point in the not to distant future, scan each employee and customize his Personal Protective Equipment from the boot on his feet to the hard hat on his head?