3D printing combats critical face-mask shortage for healthcare workers

SEW-EURODRIVE (Pty) Ltd. has joined a nationwide campaign to use 3D printing technology to produce much-needed face masks.

An initiative organised by 3D printing solutions provider Additive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS), led by MD Bernhard Vogt, has called on all companies and individuals equipped with such technology to join the face mask campaign. To date, the initiative has produced an astonishing 15 000 face shields to meet the needs of private healthcare providers such as Netcare and 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.”

SEW-EURODRIVE (Pty) Ltd., which has a state-of-the-art 3D printer in its design department, has responded and an engineer is printing masks from the safety of his home. The project is being overseen by the design and engineering departments.

“Not only do we adhere to all of the lockdown regulations and stipulations, but 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 (Pty) Ltd. MD Raymond Obermeyer comments.

“These are difficult times for the entire country. When we heard of the initiative being spearheaded by AMS, it was an ideal opportunity for us to showcase both our design and engineering capabilities in support of such an essential cause,” Obermeyer explains.

“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. While the rest of our employees are working securely from home, they do so in the knowledge that SEW-EURODRIVE (Pty) Ltd. is playing a critical role in keeping us all safe by ensuring that the people at the frontline of the battle against the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in South Africa are protected at all times,” Obermeyer concludes.