What Does A 3D Printing Company In A Virus Outbreak Do? We Found Out

, What Does A 3D Printing Company In A Virus Outbreak Do? We Found Out

Roboze CEO Alessio Lorusso

As the days pass, so does the severity of the recent coronavirus outbreak. 

Like all companies in affected areas, 3D printing companies must also cope with new regulations, interaction protocols and supply issues. We spoke with Roboze CEO Alessio Lorusso to find out what’s happening at the Italian 3D printer manufacturer. 

Fabbaloo: Italy is one of the areas most affected by COVID-19, and it’s my understanding the Italian government has designated certain areas for quarantine. Is Roboze in one of the quarantined areas? 

Alessio Lorusso: Today it is the 10th of March. Just yesterday our Prime Minister extended the prevention rules across the whole country.

Fabbaloo: Are there virus containment protocols you have been asked to follow by the authorities? 

Alessio Lorusso: First of all, we recommend staying at home to all those who have symptoms similar to that of the corona virus or who have the only doubt that they have been in contact with a probable or confirmed case of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Within our facility, we have activated the following protocols:

  • Wear masks

  • Wash hands often (We are providing hydro-alcoholic solutions for hand washing)

  • Avoid hugs and handshakes (one of the most difficult points!)

  • Keep an interpersonal distance of at least 1 meter

  • Avoid using others’ bottles and glasses

  • Do not touch eyes, noses and mouths with hands

  • Cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing

  • Clean the surfaces with chlorine or alcohol based disinfectants

We will encourage smart working, and invite everyone to hold virtual meetings. Our operations continue and indeed are strengthened by digitizing our internal processes even more.

, What Does A 3D Printing Company In A Virus Outbreak Do? We Found Out

The team at Roboze [Source: Roboze]

Fabbaloo: Has anyone from Roboze contracted the virus? What happens if someone does? 

Alessio Lorusso: Fortunately no. Should this happen, there will be a need to isolate the area where the colleague works. The second step will be to quarantine the department and sanitize it. We have already arranged all the necessary procedures, we are ready for any eventuality but we remain fully operational and concentrated.

Fabbaloo: Is a work-at-home policy now present? How does this affect work at ROBOZE? Are there things that cannot be done, or is this an advantage in some way? 

Alessio Lorusso: We already use smart working. It is recommended for all people who can do it, such  as people working in the marketing, administration, finance, sales departments. We have already digitized many processes in the past and therefore we are ready to face new challenges.

Fabbaloo: What effect on marketing may happen as a result of decreased travel? Are you inventing new ways to market and sell your products? 

Alessio Lorusso: Roboze is now an Italian-American company with staff residing in the USA and several European countries. We have an international team and fortunately, if not for postponed events in which we are all involved, we will still be able to be present in the various scheduled shows. The first will be at AmCon in Ohio on the 18th and there will be American colleagues.

Fabbaloo: Has Roboze been bumped out of any conferences that have been cancelled?  

Alessio Lorusso: With the exception of the postponed events, we had no restrictions as Italians. We need to follow the rules and advices of governments. China has set a strong example and today the contagion curve is getting lower day by day. Consciousness and intelligence are needed. It takes even more effort to overcome mental stress. We at Roboze know it, we are Strong Like Metal!

Fabbaloo: Could there be issues with suppliers that affect your production line? What steps can you take to mitigate those effects? 

Alessio Lorusso: As explained in the previous point, the virus does not affect the merchandise. Most of our suppliers are Italian, German, English and American. We calculate maximum delays of a few days due to checks at the entrance and exit, but we do not expect significant delays.

Fabbaloo: What communications have you made with your clients? 

Alessio Lorusso: We’ve just communicated that in Roboze we are adapting to the instructions of the Ministry of Health and that our business will be managed normally.

Fabbaloo: What advice would you offer to other 3D printer manufacturers at this time? 

Alessio Lorusso: Unfortunately this will be a global virus. We live the American and Italian realities. In Italy we have seen a sanitary attitude that may have seemed alarmist, but experts believed it necessary and precautionary. Thousands of swabs were made and no expense was spared for this. This new measure is aimed at tightening the spread of the virus. We consider it drastic but necessary. 

The health system in Italy is public and is making a huge effort to support the weight of checks and treatments. We hope that other countries are respectful of citizens and inform them of the real situation. We believe that Italy did an act of courage in this.

We believe that today more than ever we will demonstrate our value on the market and it will be a great challenge for all of us. True sailors are seen when there is a storm. 

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0 Responses

  1. How additive manufacturing (AM) could save us.

    As this is written the coronavirus has disrupted the world supply chain? This could bring domestic manufacturing to a full stop in some instances. Why?

    I will use domestic auto manufacturing as an example. World wide auto parts sales in 2018 totaled US$412.1B. A significant percentage of those parts were exported from the part manufacturing country and imported by the final product manufacturing country. To put that in perspective, 48.3% of those auto parts were made in Europe, with Germany dominating. Asia came in second at 29.3%. North America produced 21%, although taken as individual countries, America was second behind Germany. I expected China to be in the top three.

    The point is, when cars are made in America the parts come from North America and multiple exporting nations. For example, the aluminum wheels on my, made in America, Mustang GT came from China. If that specific part’s supply chain had gotten cut off, well, you can’t roll a car out of the factory without wheels. Last week I talked to an executive of Shelby American and they can’t get a Ford Pickup truck model because of guess what? Chinese made aluminum wheels. The lack of availability of a single part can shut down an assembly line in every type of factory.

    As this is written China, South Korea, Japan, and Italy are countries where the coronavirus has or most assuredly will disrupt manufacturing for many industries. As this is written Fortune magazine reported, “Nearly 75% of companies are seeing capacity disruptions in their supply chains as a result of coronavirus-related transportation restrictions, according to an Institute for Supply Management survey published Wednesday.

    ADVANTAGE of Domestic AM vs Globalized Sourcing of Parts

    In the past two years AM technology has advanced dramatically and 2020 is shaping up to be a breakout year. We are looking at AM equipment purchases that will allow our company’s AM to dramatically expand the quality, durability, quantity, diversity, and competitive pricing for end-use products. We will be able to produce products made from almost every available thermoplastic and metal. We will then have the capability to produce these products in quantities and sizes never before thought possible. As an example, one printer can produce a wide range of metals with an X-axis up to 31.5” or 800mm. Another can produce thermoplastics with a Z axis up to 14’ or 4.25 meters. And both these printers print with detail better than 50 μm.

    By the 3rd quarter of 2020 with the proper funding we will have the ability to produce and replace imported thermoplastic and metal parts that are no longer subject to disruption in the global supply chain.

    Some of the advantages of domestic AM:

    Production can be located near manufacturers

    Does not require a typical production line in a large manufacturing facility, but can be distributed into multiple smaller shops.

    Manufacturing can begin with a small initial start-up investment and ramped up rapidly as justified by demand. The ramp-up can be funded by borrowing against purchase orders.

    Capacity can be ramped up incrementally because AM is infinitely scalable. AM has begun with one or two AM printers and evolved to over 30

    AM parts can be designed and produced that are superior to parts made with traditional manufacturing. They can be made lighter, stronger, and more visually appealing.

    AM can be used to support traditional manufacturing by producing custom tools, molds, jigs, and fixtures. A tool steel injection mold made with AM can be produced in less than a week, rather than two months for traditional tool-steel molds. It can be sold at a profit for a small fraction of the cost of a traditionally manufactured mold.

    AM, by its nature, is significantly automated. Even none automated post-production and finishing tasks can also automated. This all leads to dramatically reducing labor costs. It was those labor costs that lead to the trend of off-shoring domestic manufacturing. The good news is this automation will result in reversing that trend. The bad news is it will not have a dramatic effect of bringing back the number of manufacturing jobs that were lost of off-shoring.

    AM can begin the gradual transition to restoring domestic manufacturing.

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