3D printing technology enables many applications in different sectors. Both cleantech companies and companies in the healthcare sector can rely on this widely applicable technology for innovations. A recent example....
Due to the corona pandemic outbreak, the medical sector is facing a major challenge worldwide. The demand for respiratory equipment and personal protective gear is greater than ever.
Materialise, the Belgian 3D printing company with worldwide operations, has developed a tool that can provide a solution in the event of an imminent shortage of respirators. The Materialise NIP Connector is a component that converts standard equipment available in most hospitals, into a mask to facilitate patient breathing. The mask creates positive pressure in the lungs and is connected to oxygen supply.
The 3D printed connector allows a non-invasive ventilation mask to be connected to a filter and a peep valve. The assembled masks can be used in situations where simply administering oxygen via a simple mask is no longer sufficient. These patients will now be connected to a respirator, but with the new solution this would not immediately be necessary. As a result, more capacity remains with the respirator.
Materialise developed the connector in collaboration with the University of Antwerp and Fluidda, a company working on respiratory equipment.
From diving equipment to oxygen masks
But it goes even further. Product development company Isinnova worked together with sports equipment dealer Decathlon, to create a 3D printable part that can turn diving gear into oxygen masks. Because Isinnova used 3D printing for the design of the components, they were able to quickly develop a prototype that fits well with the available diving masks. They also made the design file available free of charge, so everyone worldwide can download and 3D print it. Materialise collaborated with Isinnova by improving the 3D design, so that a stronger STL file would better fit the certified production requirements.
Although the emergency mask for hospital ventilators itself is a non-certified biomedical device, it provides a solution to help those hospitals that are short of much-needed medical devices through this time.