A group of four Australian-owned and operated manufacturers has teamed up with international medical technology company Stryker South Pacific to make emergency hospital beds in response to COVID-19.
The Emergency Relief Bed initiative draws on local supply chains.
The federal government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) facilitated the partnership between Stryker South Pacific and A.H Beard, AmTek Australia, Fallshaw Wheels & Castors, and Varley Group.
It all began when Stryker South Pacific’s president, Maurice Ben-Mayor, and AMGC’s managing director, Dr Jens Goennemann, were in a group phone call as part of a COVID-19 government-manufacturing industry task force. A follow-up email from Ben-Mayor sought AMGC’s help in finding local manufacturers who could adapt a Stryker US bed design and get it made in Australia in double-quick time.
The bed, which has been registered for use with the Australian Therapeutic Good Administration (TGA) standards, is designed to accommodate patients in respiratory distress. Made from readily available components, the beds can be shipped and stored as flat-packs, then assembled on-site with hand tools.
Karen Andrews, the minister for Industry, Science and Technology, praised the initiative’s ingenuity, noting that Stryker South Pacific, in partnership with AMGC, took only six days to map a local supply chain to adapt the design, create prototypes and begin production in Australia.
“This rapid response is an incredible feat and shows how Aussie companies are quickly working together in the face of this unprecedented pandemic,” she says.
“Not only does this innovation highlight how local producers are supporting our hospitals and ‘pop-up’ care facilities with equipment during this time, but also the potential to support the health-care capacity of our Pacific neighbours if needed.”
Stryker South Pacific’s Ben-Mayor, is “very proud” of the Emergency Relief Beds partnership and says it is testament to the dedication and agility of Australia’s medical technology and manufacturing sectors.
AMGC’s Goennemann says: “The ability of Australia’s manufacturing sector to respond in times of crisis demonstrates just how strong and adaptable our manufacturing industry is.
“Via the Stryker project, AMGC has linked a 130-year-old fabrication business, to a 120-year-old Australian mattress manufacturer and a 100-year-old Australian caster company, all of whom are working side-by-side to deliver an advanced manufacturing solution to address the current COVID-19 crisis – it’s innovation and collaboration at its finest.”