With the world under lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom announced on Wednesday that its subsidiary, Rusatom-Additive Technologies (RusAT) has produced prototypes and is prepared to start 3D printing valves for Venturi oxygen masks, which are an important component of ventilators.
A Rosatom statement here said the need for these valves has increased substantially due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“RusAT’s production facilities have the capacity to produce about 300 valves per week using a biocompatible polymer which does not require additional processing,” the statement said.
Venturi valves are used in conjunction with aerosol masks to provide oxygen at low flow rates and are designed for short-term use, requiring replacement every few hours.
According to the company, 3D printing has emerged as a viable solution to help many countries solve the severe valve deficit that has arisen owing to the pandemic.
“The enterprises of Russia’s nuclear industry are mobilizing their resources to combat the coronavirus pandemic. All Rosatom companies specializing in medical research or production of medical equipment are gathering the necessary manufacturing capacities and intellectual capital to quickly reorient themselves to making supplies that doctors require to fight the coronavirus,” Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev said.
“We have informed Russia’s Health Ministry, Emergency Situations Ministry, and the Defence Ministry, as well as the country’s consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, of our ability to produce Venturi valves. If necessary, we will start producing the valves in the near future,” he added.
According to the RusAT CEO Mikhail Turundaev, the company is ready to start production for delivery to medical institutions. In addition to valves, 3D printing can be used to produce masks, respirators, and other medical devices.