Two Italian doctors are 3D printing valves to face the Coronavirus pandemic
Posted By Lucie Gaget on Mar 17, 2020 |
You know it, the Coronavirus or Covid-19 is currently shaking up everyone’s daily life all around the world. This inevitably impacts the 3D printing world: we can now see all 3D printing events canceled or postponed to better times. On this blog, we are talking every day about the endless possibilities and benefits of additive manufacturing, especially in the medical field.
It appears that additive manufacturing has helped to face one specific challenge created by the Coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the initiative of Italian doctors. Let’s take a closer look at this project.
3D printing valves in an Italian hospital
A Northern Italian hospital needed a special part: a replacement valve for a reanimation device. But the supplier was actually out of stock and there was no way to get this part in a short time period. As you know, Italy is facing a huge sanitary crisis and is the hardest-hit country in Europe.
Hospitals are reporting more and more Covid-19 cases. At the same time, it means that more and more people are requiring intensive care and oxygenation in order to stay alive long enough for their antibodies to fight the virus. Hospitals have to have as many reanimation devices as possible to save lives, but if one specific part is missing, these devices become useless.
Getting functional parts in a short time? It seems like something additive manufacturing can do.
On the 13th of march, the medical team reported a problem: they were missing a part of the reanimation machine, and the consequences could have been dramatic. Luckily, they found a way to recreate their parts in 3D and manufactured them using Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing.
The company, Isinnova, answered the call and brought a 3D printer directly on the spot to help the medical teams. The next day, on the 14th, they tested the part and the system worked perfectly well with this 3D printed valve.
After this first success with filament parts, the hospital ordered more 3D printed valves from another local firm called Lonati SpAmade using a powder bed fusion process, as you can see in the following picture.
Additive manufacturing is changing the way we save lives
This project is once again proving that additive manufacturing is helping the healthcare sector saving lives by improving doctor’s daily tasks. Medical 3D printing is becoming quite common.
Indeed, 3D printing is a technique offering the possibility to manufacture adapted parts quickly, in low volumes. You don’t have to bother with the creation of the mold for injection molding, for example, the process to get your functional parts is faster and cheaper than traditional manufacturing techniques. As additive manufacturing is the perfect mass-customization technique, it is possible to create devices perfectly adapted to your needs, it can be really simple or complex geometries.
You can create adapted parts for any device, but you can also create custom tools, and even 3D printed prosthetics and implants. Surgeons can also benefit from 3D models and replicas of the organs of their patients, helping them to prepare their surgeries. This way, they know exactly what to during the real operation and are prepared for every eventuality. Thanks to the growing variety of 3D printing technologies and 3D printing materials, the opportunities offered by this manufacturing technique are becoming endless, helping to save time, money, and more importantly, to save lives.
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