Sew-Eurodrive has joined a nationwide campaign to use 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 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 MD Bernhard Vogt calling on all companies and individuals equipped with such technology to join the campaign. To date, the initiative has produced an 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.”

3D printing from home

Sew-Eurodrive, which has a 3D printer in its design department, responded to the call, and an engineer is printing masks from the safety of his home. The project is being overseen by the design and engineering departments.

“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,” explains Sew-Eurodrive MD Raymond Obermeyer.

“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.”