EnvisionTEC Partners With Healthcare Community to Battle Global Pandemic

Dearborn, Michigan, March 29, 2020 – The 3D printing industry has been working closely with the medical community for many years.  From the dental and hearing aid sectors, both of whom have adopted 3D printing as a primary method of production in a myriad of applications, to the medical and biomedical fields, who have integrated 3D printing into scientific research and the development of new medical devices, this partnership has yielded thousands of invaluable improvements into the daily lives of people the world over. EnvisionTEC has been at the forefront of these cooperative efforts since 2002, paving the way for new solutions that could only be made possible via 3D printing.

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be another opportunity for 3D printing to assist in finding new, innovative ways for healthcare professionals to provide assistance.  A shortage of the necessary diagnostic and treatment supplies has been discovered, and while many businesses have jumped in to help, it is 3D printing that may be able to provide real answers for how to combat the supply chain crisis.


Working hand-in-hand with healthcare leaders, EnvisionTEC founder and CEO Al Siblani and his team of engineering and applications specialists, with the help of some dedicated customers have identified several areas where their specific strengths in biocompatible materials and fast, precise 3D printing equipment can help to provide replenishment of stocks as well as new, alternative solutions.

The main focus of EnvisionTEC’s efforts thus far has been on the lack of ventilators for increased demand, personal protection equipment (PPE’s), and nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs for specimen collection for testing.

Individual ICU ventilators are critical in the treatment of patients in severe respiratory failure, a symptom of severe cases of COVID-19. It has been determined that the demand for these ventilators will far exceed the current stock on hand.  Manufacturing giants such as Ford and GM have been tapped to assist in the production of these machines, but even with the increased manufacturing capabilities, the process to get these machines ordered and in the hands of the medical professionals who need them could cause delays.  Al Siblani has been working with local hospitals in the Metro Detroit area to provide a functional ventilation splitter that could be 3D printed in a Class 1 material such as EnvisionTEC’s E-Guide. EnvisionTEC is working with the FDA to authorize the use of 3D printed splitters as an emergency solution to allow for multiple patients to receive oxygen from the same ventilator by adjusting the pressure controls on the ventilators to allow for dual-patient use.  By using 3D printing for these accessories, production could be scaled up in locations close to where the need is greatest, allowing for fast reaction to the growing problem and more than double the capacity of current ventilator stock.

EnvisionTEC founder and CEO Al Siblani in the field of battle
The Envision One cDLM from EnvisionTEC is capable of mass producing NP collection swabs for COVID-19 testing.

In order to effectively treat the growing number of COVID-19 patients, healthcare professionals and many other essential workers rely heavily on PPE’s in order to safely maintain their own health.  Many mask designs are meant to be single-use, and with the general public adding to the demand for these items, they are becoming increasingly hard to come by.  Again, 3D printing is an ideal solution, allowing for portions of face shields to be printed and sterilized.  EnvisionTEC has a number of large 3D printers that can quickly and efficiently print these parts in bulk, and many of their customers have been able to answer the call for local needs.

Perhaps the biggest immediate need in the fight against COVID-19 is simply identifying those who have been infected as early as possible.  Testing kit availability has been vastly inadequate, and the medical community has been working tirelessly with the 3D printing community to find a solution to mass-producing the nasopharyngeal collection swabs to alleviate the shortage quickly. EnvisionTEC has been working closely with the Harvard Microbiology Lab within a larger group dedicated to connecting academia with the manufacturing industry to combat this shortage.

To this end, EnvisionTEC engineers have designed a collection tip for a flexible nasal swab.  Brian Nilson, of Nilson Laboratories, 3D printed the final design for testing.  He was able to print 400 of the swabs in Class 1 approved material E-Guide on his Envision One cDLM in two hours.  The testing process is comprised of a ten stage mechanical testing, a two part absorption test, a biological/chemical testing procedure to ensure the swab absorbs viral RNA particles and does not interfere with PCA/reagents, and a sample collection testing procedure.  To pass, a sample needed to use a material that is approved as chemically safe, would bend 180 degrees without breaking, and the design needed to be able to safely collect enough virus particles from the nasal passage to effectively test.

EnvisionTEC nasopharyngeal collection swab design
EnvisionTEC nasopharyngeal collection swab design
400 swabs in Class 1 approved material E-Guide on Envision One cDLM

E-Guide has passed some of these tests and is awaiting final IRB testing and approval. Under FDA regulations, an IRB group that has been formally designated to review and monitor biomedical research involving human subjects has the authority to determine that E-Guide is suitable for the mass production of the NP swabs for COVID-19 testing.  EnvisionTEC has long been committed to providing solutions to their customers and is now preparing to take on the call to action of helping to equip medical professionals with the tools needed to help combat this global pandemic.  With a vast network of thousands of customers eager to help, EnvisionTEC is proud to offer the capability of producing hundreds of thousands of the swab per day.


About EnvisionTEC

EnvisionTEC is a leading global provider of professional-grade 3D printing solutions.  Founded in 2002 with its pioneering commercial DLP printing technology, EnvisionTEC now sells more than 40 printer configurations based on six distinct technologies that build objects from digital design files.  The company’s premium 3D printers serve a variety of medical, professional and industrial markets, and are valued for precision, surface quality, functionality and speed.  For more information, please visit https:///envisiontec.com.

Press Contact

Jenna Franklin



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Lino3D as a pioneer in these developments with its latest state-of-the-art technology is here ready for battle, printing all the necessary files for every need. We are here ready to face any crisis!

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Hospital in Italy turns to 3D printing to save lives of Coronavirus patients



The hospital used 3D printing to produce the valves. Photo via Isinnova.

With Italy now at the center of active Coronavirus cases, the country is in lockdown to combat the rapid spread of COVID-19. The large number of cases means that, inevitably, a huge strain has been placed on Italy’s healthcare system, and its supply chain.

Reports provide details of a hospital in Brescia with 250 Coronavirus patients in intensive care connected to breathing machines. Soon however, the hospital had run out of respiratory valves which are needed to connect the patients to the breathing machines. The original supplier of the valves was unable to supply the new ones in the time required.

In response, Cristian Fracassi, CEO of Isinnova, a Brescia-based engineering firm, used 3D printing to meet the hospital’s demands and, in the process, save some of the patients’ lives. Working with local machining manufacturer Lonati, they were able to produce 100 respirator valves in 24 hours. 

3D printed valves

Once the Brescia hospital realised its regular valve supplier could not produce the valves on time, it was forced to think of alternative solutions as it had run out of breathing tubes for the intensive care machine. In its search for different methods to produce the valves, the hospital was helped by Italian journalist Nunzia Vallini. Vallini is responsible for putting the hospital in touch with Cristian Fracassi. 

Fracassi’s company Isinnova specializes in product development – the firm helps turn innovative ideas into finished products, often using 3D printing. As such, Fracassi’s expertise and skills were suited to the task at hand. He immediately visited the hospital alongside mechanical engineer Alessandro Romaioli to see the valve themselves, upon learning about the situation. Afterward, the pair set about creating a prototype of the valve to test on the patients. Speaking to BBC News, Romaioli explained: “They tested it on a patient and they told us that it worked well and so we ran again back to our office and we started to print new valves.”


The 3D printed valves. Photo via Cristian Fracassi.

Having completed production of the successful prototype, Fracassi and Romaioli then joined forces with Lonati to use the company’s SLS 3D printer to meet the demand of the valves, combined with Isinnova’s six 3D printers. Each of the devices takes around an hour to 3D print, and cost less than €1 each to produce. 10 confirmed patients have been connected to a breathing machine via a 3D printed valve.

Although Fracassi is working for free, he explains that he does not plan to release the design publicly, despite additional hospitals requesting more valves. There have been reports that the original manufacturers of the valves could potentially sue for copyright breaches, since it did not authorize the reproduction of their product, and that it will not share the blueprint for the valve consequently. However, talking to the BBC, Fracassi states that printing the valve would be difficult for most users, and that it should be done in clinical environments regardless: “The valve has very thin holes and tubes, smaller than 0.8m – it’s not easy to print the pieces,” he said. “Plus you have to respect not [contaminating] the product – really it should be produced in a clinical way.”

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The advantages offered by 3D printing means that when the supply chains of critical products are strained, like medical supplies, it can play a pivotal role in producing such vital equipment when they are hard to source. We have seen this now amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, however, these advantages of the technology have always been apparent. For example, amid the ongoing Syrian civil war and refugee crisis, sourcing prostheses via traditional manufacturing means has proved difficult due to the complications of delivering items into a warzone. As such, it can take a while for these medical devices to reach those in need of them, as well as proving costly. In response, various organizations have turned to 3D printing to produce prostheses, which significantly reduces the cost of manufacturing, and allows the devices to reach patients faster.

Importantly, Fracassi raised concerns regarding the clinical aspects of the valve, as many have begun to request the file of the part to produce it themselves. Although 3D printing can be useful in circumstances where medical devices are hard to source, especially as the technology is so accessible, these devices need to be cleared for clinical use. This applies to the design, material and technology leveraged to produce the part; it needs to be tested and approved. As the coronavirus continues to cause a strain on hospitals around the world, 3D printing can play an important role in keeping patients alive, however, certain practices should be adhered to to ensure the safety of the patients as well.

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Manetco’s team of experts design, manufacture and integrate parts to create new laboratory equipment or production prototypes for (bio) chemical industries and research labs. Manetco provides cutting-edge technologies to design and prototype the parts you need for your future processes. These parts can be integrated within an automated equipment with real-time inline analysis. “We co-create with our customers the labs of the future.” as Dr. Tanguy Van Regemorter, CEO and founder, mentions.

Lino3D Lab and Manetco collaboration can be demonstrated in the following application video. It’s a tailor-made micro-mixer designed and simulated by Manetco, printed and tested by Lino3D Lab.

Lino3D Lab is more than excited for this collaboration, as a valuable period for widening its applications, projects and performance has just began.

More photos and videos are to be posted.

Learn more about or contact Manetco at: https://www.manetco.be/

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