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Coronavirus Patients In Italy Get Second Chance Thanks to 3D-printed ICU Valves

We have talked about how this worldwide infection can affect the economy, starting with the supply chains. One immediate effect was recorded in Italy, where an ICU valve supplier found themselves without any more units to provide the hospital. In this time-sensitive situation, technology came to the rescue, as a 3D printing company built the valves in just a few hours.

Early on Friday 13th, Massimo Temporelli, founder of The FabLab in Milan and a big promoter of the 3D printing industry, revealed that he had been contacted by Nunzia Vallini, editor of the Giornale di Brescia, to help with a severe lack of valves in a hospital in Brescia.

The hospital’s supplier had run out of valves for intensive care devices in a time where they are of essence. To help patients fight the coronavirus infection, more often than not doctors need to put them into intensive care and get them extra oxygenation. In this process, valves are critical.

Thankfully, a local company Isinnova, saw the call for help and brought a 3D printer to the hospital where, in just a few hours, they were able to redesign and produce the missing pieces.

From that point on, more and more designers and engineers came forward, hoping they could help. It seems that after the first batch of 3D valves was created, company Lonati SpA rose to the challenge and printed more, using a polymer laser powder bed fusion process and a custom polyamide-based material.

Two days ago, GrabCAD user Filip Kober created a 3D printable model and you can find it for free here.

This shows how additive manufacturing can help the traditional, industrial supply chains in times of crisis.

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