3D printing could be a lifesaver in the face of supply shortages caused by coronavirus, with a 3D printer providing vital medical supplies to an Italian hospital.
The hospital in Brescia – located in an area of northern Italy suffering at the hands of the virus outbreak – was running out of replacement valves for ‘reanimation’ machines which provide desperately needed respiratory aid to those who have contracted coronavirus.
With no way to get replacement valves thanks to the supplier running out of stock – another side-effects of the virus – the solution was to use a 3D printer.
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A company by the name of Isinnova responded to a call for help from Massimo Temporelli (founder of The FabLab in Milan), and Isinnova’s CEO, Cristian Fracassi, personally brought a 3D printer into the hospital, managing to replicate and produce the missing valve.
The very next day, Saturday, March 14, these 3D-printed replacements were proved to work, and 10 patients were soon on functioning machines that helped them breathe while using a part produced by the 3D printer.
Doubtless there will be other cases where replacements for vital equipment are needed, and may indeed be provided by 3D printing – a lot of lives could be potentially saved.
More valves were being produced by another printing outfit, Lonati SpA – as pictured in the above image – except in this case they are using a polymer laser powder bed fusion process (as opposed to filament extrusion, which was employed by Isinnova’s CEO).