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SolidWorld GROUP: from the experience with Covid-19 to investment in the medical field

Roberto Rizzo creates 'BIO3Dmodel,' the division of SolidWorld GROUP dedicated to innovations that will revolutionize medicine and surgery in the near future.

The emergency supplies for the fight against Covid-19 have shown how much medicine can benefit from 3D design and printing. A potential to be exploited, thanks to the latest 3D printers capable of mimicking not only the appearance but also the consistency of the human body. Roberto Rizzo creates “BIO3Dmodel”, a division of CadManager controlled by SolidWorld GROUP, dedicated to innovations that will revolutionize surgery in the near future.

In crises, one should not stop and wait, but rather restart with greater strength. Roberto Rizzo, Chairperson of SolidWorld GROUP, a company specializing in 3D design and printing for businesses, is convinced of this. He has decided to invest in the creation of BIO3Dmodel, a new division of the company, based in Florence, specializing in applying 3D printing solutions in the medical field. An investment of 5 million euros over 3 years, to bring in technologies, software, and above all, personnel capable of training doctors in the use of these new tools.

For some years now, SolidWorld GROUP has been present in the biomedical field, but the decision to create a dedicated headquarters and personnel has solidified in recent months. Also “thanks” to the Coronavirus. In recent weeks, indeed, the companies of the Group, starting from a project by the subsidiary Solid Energy, have created protections for healthcare workers involved in the fight against Covid-19, involving their clients, starting with Ferrari, in making their professional 3D printers available free of charge. A chain of solidarity that has highlighted how the world of 3D printing, with its rapid development and high quality of production, can bring important solutions to the medical world.

The other reason for starting this new venture is a technological innovation, which SolidWorld GROUP hopes to soon bring to Italy as well, the STRATASYS J750 DAP (Digital Anatomy Printer). It’s a 3D printer created by the largest manufacturer in the field (the American company Stratasys, precisely) capable of replicating not only the appearance but also the consistency of organs and tissues. It operates with photosensitive resins and is able to use different materials simultaneously in a single project, with different consistencies and colors. It can replicate a complete hand, or a heart, or a vascular system with veins as thin as one and a half millimeters. Paired with medical image analysis software (DICOM), it allows for the creation, starting from a CT scan or MRI, of a three-dimensional model of the organ on which intervention is required.

There were already printers that replicated human organs, but the realism of this instrument is unparalleled and could truly revolutionize the field of training and surgical preparation. Rizzo explains:

"We will have an increasingly "patient-specific" preparation: it means that the surgeon will be able to practice the procedure on a model exactly identical to the real body, reducing time and the possibility of errors. But it will also change the training of future doctors, who will be able to practice much more, learning faster, and without using human or animal cadavers."

The new Competence Center in Florence will be directly under one of the companies within the Group, CAD Manager, and the point of reference will be Mr. Giovan Battista Semplici (already an administrator of the same), with the collaboration of two important research centers. On one side, the TIP group – Team for Process and Product Innovation of the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Florence, which operates through the T3Ddy laboratory, in collaboration with theMeyer Pediatric Hospital, and collaborates with other hospital centers (Careggi, Siena, Massa, etc.) to offer innovative and personalized care solutions based on the use of 3D printing and 3D CAD procedures. On the other hand, it collaborates with e-SPpres3D, a Spinoff of the EndoCAS (Computer Assisted Surgery) center at the University of Pisa, which develops high-detail anatomically specific patient simulators.

Rizzo concludes:

"Thanks to the fieldwork with operators, we aim to continuously improve the use of the machine and hope that 3D printing becomes a widespread practice in Italian hospitals. During these emergency days, we have seen how the speed of these machines can also help in absolutely unforeseen situations."

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