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Over the past few weeks COVID-19 has caused disruption worldwide from our daily tasks right through to the impact on our global supply chains. Additive manufacturing has played a crucial role in helping to reduce the impact of the virus, supporting industrial supply chains that are affected by limitations on traditional production and imports.
Over the weekend news broke that a North Italian hospital needed a replacement valve for a reanimation device and the supplier had run out; where it seemed impossible to get more in the immediate future. Fortunately thanks to a company called Isinnova, they responded to the cries for help and brought a 3D printer directly to the hospital. Within a few hours, they had redesigned and produced the low stock component.
Since then, the hospital has reported that the device printed by Isinnova is working and currently 10 patients are being treated using this critical part. After the immediate success of the first iteration working, more parts have been ordered and are being printed by another local firm Lonati SpA, using a polymer laser powder bed fusion process. Each part is designed to be used for a maximum of eight hours at a time.
The 3D printed version of this part costs less than €1 (90p) to produce. “The valve is challenging to print where there’s very thin holes and tubes, smaller than 0.8mm – it’s not easy to print the pieces” Mr Fracassi has said.
At the time of writing this article, the UK government has put out their own call to help for all companies and manufacturers with the resources to help create new ventilator systems for the NHS. If you think your business can help aid the manufacture of these new devices get in contact with the details below:
Has your business or company been impacted by the effects of COVID-19? – Get in touch to see how we can reduce the impact on your supply chain.