In Italy, young entrepreneurs used their engineering skills with high precision combined with their passion for 3D printing to create 3D printed valves that can be connected to machines to help coronavirus (COVID-19) infected patients breathe.
Chiari Hospital General Manager Mauro Borelli on the phone confirms that not only are the 3D-printed "life-saving" valves working properly, even a second improved model from the first version has been developed, "which generates less friction."
This is a beautiful story during the coronavirus season that fills us with hope. The idea arose due to the need for valves to connect the breathing helmets to the oxygen cylinders, not available in the market because the manufacturing company was saturated by the number of orders.
How to do it "Why not try recreating them with a 3D printer?" It was intuition. In a round of calls, the SOS del Mellini di Chiari recovers in the editorial office, at the hours when the solidarity of AiutiAMObrescia runs fast, to reach Massimo Temporelli, a physicist, entrepreneur and scientific disseminator, who among the fablabs finds the immediate availability of Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Ramaioli, young engineers from Brescia who get to work. In a few hours they print 3D prototypes. Then Mellini is presented with the first fifty valves ("It's actually a Venturi tube, a hydraulic invention that dates back to the 18th century," says Borelli, an engineer himself).
Ready it is, everything works. A small miracle in which Brescia's technology, heart, competence and determination made the difference. For many as for Antonio, 60 yo, he admitted Mellini by covid-19, among the first to benefit from the "valve that saves lives." Without which he would now struggle to breathe. Instead, his course is progressing well.
For the two young engineers, hours of unremitting work to produce a hundred of these valves, but the smile behind the masks also outweighs signs of fatigue on the face. And their commitment is reflected in the immediate availability gathered by many other companies in the medical and 3D printing sectors, such as Invatec-Medtronic, Only 3D, Fabula 3D.
Digit of the generosity of Brescia.
1. Valvole salvavita con la stampante 3D, già una decina in funzione - Giornale di Brescia. https://www.giornaledibrescia.it/sebino-e-franciacorta/valvole-salvavita-con-la-stampante-3d-già-una-decina-in-funzione-1.3467083
2. Coronavirus: 3D printers save hospital with valves. https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51911070
3. Italian hospital saves Covid-19 patients lives by 3D printing valves for reanimation devices. https://www.3dprintingmedia.network/covid-19-3d-printed-valve-for-reanimation-