Spentys is a young Belgian enterprise based in Forest. Accustomed to 3D printing medical braces, the company decided to refocus its production on items needed by hospitals fighting Covid-19.
At the beginning of the crisis, Spentys’ horizons suddenly darkened, as hospitals decided to focus on treating Covid-19 patients. But, faced with a shortage of equipment, many hospitals got in touch with Spentys, a company renowned for its expertise in 3D printing. Management immediately redirected their production to create protective masks and screens as well as consumable parts for ventilators. Today, Spentys is able to produce 120 visors a day, which the company has decided to sell at cost price to Belgian hospital services, as well as those in France and the Netherlands.
The impact of coronavirus
“For all the urgent items that were in short supply, it was better not to be reliant on orders coming from China. It’s important to realise that ventilators require several elements that have to be replaced for each use,” explains Louis-Philippe Broze, CEO of Spentys. For him, entrepreneurs are one of the main drivers of societal change. “More than ever, we need people who are capable of rethinking and questioning the society in which we live. Everyone, at their own level, can come up with innovative ideas.” He is convinced that: “With the crisis, entrepreneurship makes even more sense than before. That’s what drives me as an entrepreneur, because the challenges are clearly much greater than ever!”
At the origin of Spentys is a very simple observation, made by Mr Broze and his Spentys co-founder, Florian De Boeck: “In orthopaedic surgery, braces and casts have hardly changed for decades.” They firmly believe that by allying modelling and 3D printing, they can supply substitutes to traditional plaster. These models, printed in 3D, offer more comfort for patients because they are water-resistant, light, made to measure and recyclable. The patient can continue to take a shower, go swimming or wash dishes, all without risk of sores or allergic reaction.
Mr Broze emphasises that the role of the bank was crucial: “BNP Paribas Fortis supported us at a very early stage to acquire our first batch of 3D printers, but our order book was already very full. The bank took more risks than with a traditional business and I felt it was genuinely interested in businesses that want to have a positive impact on society.”