A family-owned South Australian company has teamed up with the Department of Defence for the rapid production of face shields for healthcare workers battling COVID-19.
Six hundred of the new face shields, designed by Defence Science and Technology Group (DST), have already been distributed since Axiom Precision Manufacturing began production last week.
Axiom is set to make up to 1000 face shields per day, with numbers to increase as the manufacturing process matures. The north Adelaide company’s precision products are used in a wide range of industries, including defence, rail, aerospace and mining, as well as medical devices.
The defence minister, Senator Linda Reynolds, says the partnership will sustain a steady supply of shields for Australia over the coming months.
“The Morrison government is committed to ensuring our frontline health and aged-care workers have access to masks and other personal protective equipment,” she says.
“This includes boosting domestic manufacturing capability and capacity, and creating a pathway through to manage the virus.”
Senator Reynolds believes the initiative will help to expand Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capability to the medical industry. She describes it as “another great example of Defence applying its ingenuity and unique engineering research skills”.
The minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, says Axiom exemplifies Australia’s advanced manufacturing capability.
“Many of the Aussie companies with contracts in defence are advanced manufacturers working at the cutting edge, and there are great crossover opportunities that exist as a result of that,” she says.
“Whether it’s expanding into medical supplies, as we’re seeing in this case, or expanding into space or other precision manufacturing, our advanced manufacturers will help Australia come out the other side of this pandemic stronger than ever.”
The initiative is part of Defence’s support for the federal government’s COVID-19 response. Australian Defence Force personnel have provided support to Victorian manufacturer Med-Con’s production of surgical face masks, while DST will increase domestic stocks of invasive ventilators.