Italian supercar manufacturer Ferrari has started to produce respirator valves and fittings for protective masks at its Maranello plant, as one of its initiatives in support of health workers treating coronavirus patients. The department where car prototypes are usually built is producing these thermoplastic components using additive manufacturing technology, as Ferrari joins 3D printing effort to fight COVID-19 globally.
In March, Ferrari (and other FCA Group companies) had started collaborating with Siare Engineering, the only Italian manufacturer of pulmonary ventilators, helping the company go from 5 to 20 (and possibly 30) ventilators produced daily, with the goal of producing 2,000 of the machines by July 31st. In this case, Ferrari did not need to convert its production lines but supplied needed parts to build the ventilators, such as monitors and electrical components, with FCA and Magneti Marelli contributing to mechanical parts.
With this new initiative to 3D print valves and adapters, Ferrari is joining the armies of companies leveraging their internal 3D printing resources around the world to address supply chain issues in protective medical devices. This project also represents one of the very rare times that Ferrari has made an explicit reference to its internal 3D printing capabilities.
3dpbm is aware that Ferrari runs a number of HP, EOS, and Stratasys machines – among others – and of course relies on service providers. However, the top sportscar manufacturer in the world is usually tight-lipped about its manufacturing technologies and strategies. This time, on the other hand, Ferrari has made an official announcement on its media site.
Ferrari is partnering with Novamacut – its supplier of HP multijet fusion systems – and Solid Energy – the engineering division of Stratasys and Desktop Metal systems distributor Energy Group. The valves have been developed by Mares, a diving equipment manufacturer, tailor-made to fit their masks so as to create emergency masks to assist patients suffering from respiratory failure.
In this case the logistics of the project were handled by Nuovamacut, who also helped with the research of the different companies that contributed to the success of the project. Other fittings are being supplied to Solid Energy, that will use them to transform Decathlon snorkel masks into aids to protect healthcare workers exposed to infection.
In the next few days, Ferrari plans to manufacture several hundred items of equipment that are already being distributed by some of the companies involved, with the coordination of the Italian Civil Protection, to various Italian hospitals including those in Bergamo, Genoa, Modena, and Sassuolo as well as to health workers in the town of Medicina, near Bologna.