European Commission calls on Additive Manufacturing companies to assist hospitals during coronavirus

March 20, 2020

The spread of COVID-19 is placing the healthcare sector under extreme strain and causing shortages of medical equipment in hospitals

CECIMO, the European Association of the Machine Tool Industries and related Manufacturing Technologies, has issued a call to action for Additive Manufacturing companies to aid hospitals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which is placing the healthcare sector under extreme strain and causing severe shortages of medical equipment in hospitals, in particular valves and ventilators. This is just one of many collaborative efforts being undertaken by the AM community in Europe and worldwide to support the healthcare sector as it struggles to cope with the virus’s spread.

In an official statement, the association stated that it had been requested by the European Commission to address its membership and query if it would be able to aid in producing equipment (such as valves or ventilators) that hospitals are lacking due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Consequently, CECIMO has decided to expand the call for action to all AM companies, and is urging every company with the capability to do so to assist hospitals in Europe.

The response from CECIMO members has reportedly been positive, with many companies from the European AM industry volunteering to aid hospitals and health centres through the use of their machines. The association expressed its belief that the Additive Manufacturing sector can be the answer in offering immediate solutions.

From a regulatory point of view, it was noted that there are some legal constraints that might hamper the full implementation of such solutions. CECIMO believes that member states should, therefore, consider temporarily waiving some of their Medical Device Directive requirements for strategical goods during the crisis period.

“We welcome Commissioner Breton’s statement, claiming that the EC will facilitate all companies helping in this time, also protecting them from potential legal issues,” the association stated. “The Commissioner also highlighted that technologies such as 3D printing should be included in the scope of a new fund aiming to sustain different sectors, such as healthcare, in this time of need.”

“I believe that the Additive Manufacturing sector can play an important role in sustaining the effort of hospital workers in the middle of this emergency,” added Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General. “However, it is in the best interest of all to clarify the regulatory issues in order to move forward quickly and in a way that is not going to delay immediate actions”.

Companies wishing to be part of the initiative to support hospitals through the outbreak should contact Filip Geerts, CECIMO Director General ([email protected]) or Vincenzo Belletti, Policy Innovation Manager ([email protected]). 

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