Isinnova is the first Italy-based startup which volunteered to 3D print valves that saved Covid-19 patients. For anyone who follows news on Covid-19, it is currently no secret that Italy is the first country in the world after China that has been severely affected by the pandemic.

Since the media hype they received regarding their work in the desperate emergencies of the moment, many people asked if they could share the STL. file around the world so that hospitals in need could reproduce it easily. Unfortunately, for several reasons, including certification, the ministry of Health in Italy ordered them to not share the file.

However, in the meantime, together with the former head physician of the Gardone Val Trompia Hospital, Dr. Renato Favero, they have been working on emergency valves that could be produced using 3D printing.

In this regard, to meet the current shortage of ventilators faced by hospitals, their idea was to turn a snorkeling mask already available on the market into something usable by hospitals and 3D printable.

We analyzed the proposal together with the inventor. We contacted in little time Decathlon, as ideator, productor and supplier of the snorkeling Easybreath mask. The company was immediately willing to cooperate by providing the CAD drawing of the mask we had identified. The product was dismantled, studied, and the changes to be made were evaluated. A new component was then designed to guarantee the connection to the ventilator. We called the link Charlotte valve, and we quickly printed it using 3D printing”, said Isinnova.

The test carried out with their colleague working at the Chiari Hospital, has proven the prototype’s efficiency. Another test has been performed by the hospital on a patient in need, and it was a success.

We are reiterating that the idea is designed for healthcare facilities and aims to help in the realization of an emergency mask in case of a full-blown difficult situation, where it is not possible to [rely on ]official healthcare supplies. Neither the mask nor the link are certified and their use is subject to a situation of mandatory need.

Usage by the patient is subjected to the acceptance of use of an uncertified biomedical device, by providing a signed declaration”, insists the company on its website.

Given the success of the project and with the goal of preventing any speculation regarding the price of the part, the company urgently patented the link valve (Charlotte valve). However, they “clarify that the patent will remain free to use, because it is in [their] intention that all hospitals in need could use it if necessary.”

To avoid speculation on the subject, they clarify that their initiative is totally non-profit, and that they will not obtain any royalties on the idea of ​​the link, nor on the sales of Decathlon masks.

Being able to act for the well-being of all in these challenging times – without any financial compensation – has positioned Isinnova as a true leader in this industry. As a matter of fact, their action has led to a wind of support from many large AM companies and SMEs.

At the end of their website, you will find a document to be signed by the patient for the use of the device in an emergency situation, the Italian Ministry Health explains on their website how to activate the emergency procedure for compassionate care, as well as video instructions on preparing the emergency mask once all the components are obtained.

The solution has been released almost at the same time as Spanish consortium has released its first medical certified 3D printed ventilator.

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Corporate communication and marketing expert by training at 3D Adept, Kety is currently leading the publication’s editorial and content activities. She has a unique gift for knowing how to grab an audience's attention on insights that matter – in this case, everything related to additive manufacturing. She believes that a wide range of innovations still have to be discovered about the technologies that shape the world of tomorrow and she has made it her objective at 3D ADEPT Media.