How 3D printers ‘save’ hospitals in Italy

How 3D printers 'save' hospitals in Italy
© How 3D printers ‘save’ hospitals in Italy

A 3D printing company in Italy designed and printed 100 respirator valves within 24 hours for a hospital that was running out.

These valves connect patients to intensive respiratory machines.

According to the BBC, the hospital in Bretsia had 250 patients with coronavirus in intensive care and the valves were designed for maximum use of eight hours at a time.

The 3D-printed version costs less than one euro per piece, and it took just three hours to design the prototype.

The hospital contacted Isinnova’s chief executive Christian Fracassi thanks to journalist Nudzia Valini, who discovered that the regular supplier was unable to provide new valves quickly.

Fracassi and mechanical engineer Alessandro Romeoli rushed to test the valve, and three hours later had an original.

“They tried it on a patient and told us it was working fine, so we went back to the office and started printing new valves.”

Romeoli told BBC News.

The two then worked with Lonati, another local 3D printer company, to meet demand, since Isinnova has six printers and each device takes an hour to print. They work for free, but they do not intend to make the plan public.

“The valve has very small holes and tubes below 0.8 meters; it’s not easy to print the pieces,”

said Fracassi.

“You also have to be careful not to contaminate the product; in fact, it should be produced clinically.”

A second hospital has contacted them asking for extra valves.

“We haven’t slept in two days,”

he added.

“We’re trying to save lives.”
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