3DIt will come as no surprise to our well-read members that Italy is now the country with the most cases of coronavirus; the deaths alone number over 80001. The pressure placed on the medical infrastructure and surrounding industries is beyond compare.

And so, the Asset Management Council brings you the fourth in our Fluidity in Assets series. This time we’re looking at an Italian-based engineering start-up that used 3D printers to create respirator valves.

A hospital in Chiari, in northern Italy reached crisis point recently when they urgently needed valves for respirators to provide oxygen for patients experiencing breathing difficulties due to the coronavirus. However, the regular manufacturer of the valves was unable to produce in the volumes required to meet unprecedented demand.

The CEO of Isinnova, Christian Fracassi, immediately jumped into action and volunteered to help. He was unable to obtain a 3D model of the part, known as a venturi valve. Undeterred, Fracassi set to work to reverse-engineer the design of the valve, creating a prototype within a six-hour period. The hospital confirmed after testing that part was able to be fitted to the respirator and was of good quality. Fracassi’s business printed 100 more valves and donated them to the hospital by the next day2.

Fracassi’s decision to involve his business in a crisis demonstrates both the fluidity of engineering assets and intuition in leadership – crucial elements in asset management.

1 Sourced: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/italy/

2 Sourced: https://www.forbes.com/sites/amyfeldman/2020/03/19/talking-with-the-italian-engineers-who-3d-printed-respirator-parts-for-hospitals-with-coronavirus-patients-for-free/#1872558d78f1