Drive and automation technology leader SEW-Eurodrive has joined a national campaign to use three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to produce much needed face masks and shields for healthcare workers and first responders.
Since the announcement of a national lockdown to flatten the curve of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa, there has been a global shortage of such critical personal protective equipment (PPE).
The initiative was organised by 3D printing solutions provider Additive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS), with AMS MD Bernhard Vogt calling on all companies and individuals equipped with such technology to join the campaign.
To date, the initiative has produced an astonishing 15 000 face shields to meet the needs of private healthcare providers such as Netcare as well as the Department of Health.
Vogt says he was inspired to mobilise local 3D printing resources in the race to provide much-needed PPE after Europe embarked upon a similar initiative. “Only after South Africa’s cases started to escalate after the national lockdown was implemented did the dire need for such gear become apparent.”
The company will continue to produce the masks as the need arises. Moreover, the masks are reusable, and the filter can be changed after a day’s shift.
SEW-Eurodrive, which has a high-quality 3D printer in its design department, responded to the rallying cry, and an engineer is printing masks from the safety of his home. The project is being overseen by the design and engineering department.
“Not only do we adhere to all of the lockdown regulations and stipulations but we are making a positive and practical contribution to keeping healthcare workers and first-line responders safe so they can carry on with their important roles,” SEW-Eurodrive MD Raymond Obermeyer comments.
He adds that these are difficult times for the entire country. Therefore, when SEW-Eurodrive heard of the initiative being spearheaded by AMS, it was an ideal opportunity for the company to showcase both its design and engineering capabilities in support of such an essential cause.
“This is an excellent example of the values that underpin our company. We do not stand back in the face of any challenge, but rather take the initiative to come up with viable solutions,” Obermeyer concludes.