23.10.23 | Corporate
3D-printed prosthetic hands thanks to donation from Zschimmer & Schwarz
Worldwide aid: the chemical company supports the Spanish organisation Ayúdame 3D
The loss of a limb decisively changes the lives of those affected and often has a lasting impact on their quality of life. The Spanish organisation Ayúdame 3D wants to help these people by producing prostheses using 3D printers and donating them free of charge. Zschimmer & Schwarz supports them in this mission with a donation of 3,500 euros. As part of the chemical company's donation campaign, Elena Mezquita, employee at Zschimmer & Schwarz España in Vila-real, Spain, proposed the project for funding.
Ayúdame 3D uses 3D printers to produce prosthetic arms and hands – the so-called "Trésdesis". These are provided free of charge to people around the world who have had an amputation. The prostheses are made from PLA, a plastic from renewable sources, for example corn starch. The mechanism is similar for all types of prostheses: with the natural joint movement of the person, a mechanism of nylon threads is activated that makes the fingers close tightly. When this movement is reversed, rubbers return the fingers to their initial position. The prostheses improve people's quality of life and give them, for example, better opportunities for school or education or higher chances of employment.
In addition, Ayúdame 3D offers workshops for companies. One of these workshops took place at Zschimmer & Schwarz España. "The employees learned about design and 3D printing and then worked together in teams to assemble prostheses from individual parts," explains Elena Mezquita, the initiator of the donation project. "In total, we made eight prosthetic hands that will be donated to people with disabilities. At the same time, we learned a lot and also grew stronger as a team through the joint task."
On the occasion of the company’s 125-year anniversary in 2019, the shareholders of the Zschimmer & Schwarz Group started a special charitable programme: all employees around the world were asked to present local initiatives that the company could support with a donation. This donation campaign went into the next round in 2022 and will be repeated every two years in the future.
Ayúdame 3D is one of more than 20 projects and institutions across Europe supported by Zschimmer & Schwarz as part of the donation campaign with a total sum of around 250,000 euros. “Social responsibility and sustainable action have been part of the DNA of our family business Zschimmer & Schwarz ever since it was founded”, explains Gisela Rochow, shareholder of the Zschimmer & Schwarz Group. “We are happy that our donations have a direct impact in the locations where our companies are based and that we can thus give something valuable back to society”, adds Thomas Schwarz, also shareholder of Zschimmer & Schwarz.
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