Mackart Additive designs & 3D prints bespoke ventilator exhalation valve inside 24 hours

Silverstone Technology Cluster

1st July 2020

STC member Mackart Additive has successfully transferred its 3D printing skills in Formula 1 and aerospace to produce a bespoke lifesaving valve in the treatment of COVID-19 patients within 24 hours of being commissioned.

The Lichfield business’s work was in response to a call from Dr Iain Crossingham, Respiratory Consultant at Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital’s Chest Clinic.

In a matter of hours, Mackart Additive developed a detailed 3D CAD model of the component, which was swiftly approved by Dr Crossingham for production to begin the very next day.

Barely 12 hours later, the first 3D printed part had been completed and was dispatched to the hospital where Dr Crossingham began to test it using clinical equipment.

With strict flow and pressure standards to meet, the single use, consumable exhalation valve – the type required to aid patients with breathing difficulties – passed successfully first time without any issues.

Steven McCarthy, Managing Director at Mackart Additive, said: “Mackart Additive is no stranger to tackling technical challenges against tight schedules. With in-house engineering, design and 3D printing capability, we are used to developing and manufacturing bespoke components and precision tooling for aerospace clients and Formula 1 teams using 3D printing techniques.

“Working with Dr Crossingham on the ventilator project has been a privilege. Being able to contribute has meant we have been able to put our skillset to good use at a time of national emergency – a challenge we knew we had to rise to.

“The fact we were able to turn the exhalation valve around so quickly, and for the component to meet medical requirements, was a huge achievement.”

Dr Crossingham said: “When the part arrived from Mackart Additive it worked perfectly. We have used the new exhalation valve to successfully ventilate a test lung, which is amazing.

“The fit on the connectors was perfect and held pressures to 40cmH20 while the intentional leak from the port passed the ventilator circuit test algorithm without any warnings. Brilliant work.”

The combined effort between Dr Crossingham and Mackart Additive is just one example of how, when combined, 3D printing technology and engineering expertise, can achieve remarkable ‘real world’ results and make a tangible difference to people’s lives.




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