Camosun College Manufacturing Solutions Assist with Vaccine Deliveries
Creative designs and inventive manufacturing solutions from the applied research arm of Camosun College are assisting with the safe delivery of vials containing the COVID-19 vaccine to communities throughout British Columbia.
"The ability to quickly and safely transfer vials of the COVID-19 vaccine is helping to get it to where it is needed most," says Gerry Delorme, Director with Health Emergency Management BC. "Camosun Innovates’ ability to quickly imagine and produce manufacturing solutions each time we encounter a challenge is helping to ensure vaccines reach British Columbians."
Camosun Innovates worked with the B.C. Ministry of Health, Health Emergency Management BC, the BC Centre for Disease Control and regional health authorities to prototype and manufacture specialized trays to secure the COVID-19 vaccine vials for transport to where they are most needed. The team at Camosun Innovates also designed and manufactured the Camosun VI-grip to quickly lift and move vials.
Upon arrival in distribution centres, the vaccine vials need to be transferred from their original containers to boxes holding smaller quantities destined for individual care facilities, rural clinics, and remote communities. Because the vaccine must be kept at a stable temperature of 70 degrees below zero, each box needs to be filled in under three minutes, and the transport trays must also withstand these extreme conditions.
"Camosun has been quick to get behind opportunities to support its students, employees and community in many ways throughout the pandemic," says Sherri Bell, Camosun President. "The applied research process used to create the trays and Camosun VI-grip are just the latest example of how community colleges can hit the ground running with innovative solutions to complex, real-world problems."
The first production test run of the transfer trays took place in the Babcock Canada Interaction Lab on Camosun’s Interurban campus. These transport trays can hold up to 100 individual vaccine vials and are made of quarter-inch acrylic that is resistant to both shrinkage and extreme temperatures. The Camosun VI-grip can transfer up to five vials at a time and is manufactured using a Stereo Lithography Apparatus (SLA) 3D printer that works with a UV-responsive resin.
"Camosun is always ready to step up and help out in difficult times, responding to challenges big and small, global and local," explains Dr. Richard Gale, Director of Camosun Innovates. "Because the pandemic has been so challenging and persistent, it creates countless opportunities for collaboration and innovation, all designed to keep our loved ones safe and well. Solving problems is what we do at Camosun Innovates, and we are eager to support the excellent work being done by staff at the BCCDC, the provincial ministries, and the health authorities.”
Recent Camosun Innovates projects include design and manufacturing of competitive equipment for Olympic para-athletes, complex sport simulators, and self-righting watercraft, as well as medical grade face shields and portable decontamination devices to support front-line health care professionals during the pandemic.