The United Kingdom 3D printing company Ricoh 3D has offered its resources to help make ventilators for coronavirus patients.
Ricoh 3D has contacted both Make UK and the Government to confirm the company is willing and able to support an increase in mass ventilator manufacturing.
By using its workforce and additive manufacturing to produce vital components for ventilators both quickly and cost-effectively, the company believes it will be able to make a difference.
The response to help comes after a call from health secretary Matt Hancock for United Kingdom manufacturers to urgently work together. Hancock called for an increase in the availability of the number of machines the NHS has which enable patients who are suffering from severe symptoms to breathe. In his speech, Hancock also stressed how the UK currently only has 5,000 ventilators but needs many more. He urged UK manufacturers to get involved in any way they could.
New ventilators are urgently required as the coronavirus crisis intensifies.(…), Additive manufacturing will have a vital role to play in this as the technology is capable of producing bespoke parts quickly and cheaply, (…), We have registered our willingness to help in any way. Our team of experts are on standby to design and produce any required parts at a moment’s notice, (…), These are unprecedented times and businesses, as well as individuals, need to do everything possible to save lives.”
-Mark Dickin, additive manufacturing and moulding engineering lead at Ricoh
Ricoh 3D has previous experience within medical projects, including the development of a lever-hinge mechanism for ankle-foot orthotic services, and involvement in new technology which sees limbs scanned and precisely replicated using additive manufacturing prior to operation.
The company can also produce surgical instruments using additive manufacturing.
This follows news in Italy, where an additive manufacturing company was able to supply a hospital with 100 respirator valves within 24 hours to connect patients to breathing machines. The valves usually cost around £9,000 to produce but were made using 3D printing for less than £1 each.