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3T: We’re no longer a bike factory

Published March 26, 2020
The Italian manufacturer has converted its carbon factory to produce valves for ventilator masks during the pandemic.

BERGAMO, Italy (BRAIN) — 3T Cycling is the latest bike company to reveal that it has converted its factory to make devices for the medical industry. The Italian brand is running its 3D printer 24 hours a day to make a valve part for a ventilator mask.

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 “I am so glad we can help! We produce 45 units a week. I know it is not a lot, but 45 more people will now be able to get oxygen a week. I am sure this helps save lives,” said Rene Wiertz, the president and CEO of the company.

The valve part is used to converts a diving mask from the Decathlon sporting goods store to work with a ventilator. A pair of Italian engineers came up with the conversion idea, which was written up in the New York Times and elsewhere last week. 

3D printer speeds limit mask production, so the engineers who developed the mask have shared the 3D model files with companies that have the machines available.

3T is based in the heart of the Lombardy region, a center of the outbreak in Italy. Wiertz said 3T has remained open and all 3T employees are healthy. But the pandemic has come close to home: The grandmother of one colleague and the father-in-law of another colleague have passed away due to the virus.

3T has created a product bundle with Elite and Zwift to raise money for a Bergamo hospital. The company continued to ship products from its Bergamo warehouse until last weekend when authorities ordered all non-essential businesses to shut down. It is now converting the facility to valve production and has moved much of its stock to a warehouse in Denmark. It is continuing to ship from Denmark; its facilities in Taiwan and Toronto also are open with most employees working from home, Wiertz said.

“We are a company with all young and dynamic people with energy, so we do what we can to overcome this crisis and help less fortunate people," he told BRAIN.

Several industry manufacturers have begun producing medical products during the pandemic. Vermarc, De Soto, Kitsbow, Orucase, Santini and Scicion have each begun producing masks. Industry Nine also was preparing to produce ventilator parts and is now helping Kitsbow with mask production. Silca is making its production facility in Indianapolis available for any needed medical device production. Chrome Industries is making masks and also providing home-based makers with the designs, patterns, and instructions to make masks at home.

Some of the 3D-printed valves by 3T.
Topics associated with this article: Coronavirus

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