Thousands of 3d printed covid 19 test tubes

In 72 hours, a thousand 3D printed COVID-19 test tubes

CERBALLIANCE Laboratories, VOLUMIC and LaFERME3D have joined forces to provide an unprecedented response to the problem of out-of-stock COVID-19 screening tests thanks to 3D printing.

CERBALLIANCE (600 laboratories in France), mandated by the ARS (Agence Régionale de Santé) to carry out the Covid19 screening tests, is equipped in France with several latest generation screening machines, each of which can carry out more than 150 analyses per day.

However, due to the unprecedented scale of the threat, laboratories do not have sufficient numbers of test tubes (cups) to keep their automated systems running at full capacity.
Suppliers are unable to meet their customers’ demands, so the official supply chain is broken… the difficulties in obtaining cupules on a global scale are virtually putting these crucial machines out of action in the merciless battle against the virus!

As a matter of urgency, Doctor Vincent RAIMONDI, General and Medical Director of CERBALLIANCE Côte d’azur contacted VOLUMIC with a single wish: to design and produce as soon as possible an alternative and validated version of these test tubes!

In less than 72 hours, relying on the expertise of FERME3D (especially on the subjects of sealing and mass production), VOLUMIC succeeded in proposing a modeled and then 3D printed version of the test tubes to Dr RAIMONDI’s team. The latter launched, in the wake of this, the technical analyses of validation which confirmed that this new material can replace the missing versions with the screening kits.

VOLUMIC and FERME3D are preparing to mass-produce the consumable required for SARS-CoV-2 screening tests by RT-PCR.
These screenings will be offered as a priority to health care personnel in order to more accurately assess/monitor the infection status of the medical staff with covid-19, who are on the front line in the field.

Rapid testing of Covid-19 is one of the essential links to analyze its expansion and, later, to confirm the control of the epidemic allowing a safe return to “normal” life.

Thus, in less than 72 hours, 3D printing made it possible to provide a vital and concrete response (from prototype to mass production) to a sector renowned for its high standards and whose supply chain was in short supply at a critical time. This unprecedented solution makes it possible to once again use the screening machines to their full capacity and thus urgently respond to the exponential need for screening tests on the national territory.

More globally, the fact that the CERBALLIANCE medical laboratory and its reagent suppliers validate the reliability of these 3D printed specimens will trigger a strategic post-crisis reflection on the limits of conventional manufacturing methods as well as their critical dependencies on foreign suppliers.

In parallel, and still in close contact with health and scientific authorities as well as the international 3D printing community, VOLUMIC and La FERME3D have agreed on other ways to fight the spread of the virus using 3D printing technology.

More than ever, 3D printing is demonstrating its gains in reactivity and all its potential to respond… even to unprecedented crisis situations!

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