Angus 3D Solutions Help to Combat CoronavirusNeil Hardie
An Angus-based 3D printing company is in talks with counterparts in Italy about using the technology to print parts for life-saving medical devices.
The move follows reports that a hospital in Brescia, near one of the hardest-hit regions for coronavirus infections in Italy, urgently needed valves for a ventilation machine which its supplier could not provide.
Running out of the valves could have led to Covid-19 patients losing their lives until a 3D printing company steeped in to provide a solution to the broken supply chain.
A company in the area brought a 3D printer directly to the hospital and, in just a few hours, redesigned and then produced the missing piece.
Andy Simpson, the managing director of Brechin-based Angus 3D Solutions, has contacted the Italian firm Isinnova to obtain the plans in case Scotland also faces a shortage of the part.
He said: “I’ve been aware of the Government talking to engineering firms about the possibility of them making ventilators and I thought this could be a way my company could help.
“I contacted the team in Italy to ask what they did and what the equipment was.
“I was just reaching out to see if there’s anything that I can learn from them so that if we have the same problem here in Scotland then I could be ahead of the curve.”
Angus 3D Solutions have seven 3D printing machines and also the ability to vacuum cast – a process which uses a vacuum to draw any liquid material into a mould.
Mr Simpson said his state-of-the-art equipment was capable of tackling most challenges.
“Depending on what’s involved, it’s possible to use 3D printing for the prototype and the master and then create a master mould to produce the devices in a different way.
“The Italian guys have saved 10 lives out there. It’s maybe not a problem in Scotland today but we’ve still got the worst to come here.
“I am hoping they can share the files so I can know more about what’s involved.”