Konica Minolta Australia helps EGR with rapid prototyping to move its personal protective equipment to mass manufacture in record time

Konica Minolta, a leading supplier of 3D printing equipment and services in Australia, has worked with the EGR Group in the rapid prototyping phase of the company’s shift to personal protective equipment (PPE) for sectors including healthcare and retail in response to COVID-19. 

EGR produces thousands of tonnes of plastic sheeting a year for the automotive industry in Australia and globally. However, with COVID-19 slowing the automotive industry, EGR saw an opportunity to use its resources to help with PPE while at the same time keeping its business financially viable for the employment of its 800 local staff. 

EGR enlisted the help of long-term partner, Konica Minolta Australia, to assist with the rapid prototyping phase of the face shield design. Using the Markforged X7, Konica Minolta Australia was on hand to 3D print design iterations the same day or overnight, for the quick transition to mass manufacture. Capacity is now at 50,000 face shields per day in EGR’s Brisbane manufacturing facility. 

John Bartley, group general manager – advance engineering development, automotive division, EGR, said, “EGR is by nature an innovative company that can recognise new opportunities and the need to adapt to market conditions. For an Australian manufacturer, this speed and agility is critical to survival. We saw the opportunity to deploy EGR’s resources to address a critical need for PPE while keeping our people employed and our factory open. 

“The definition of the prototype produced by the Markforged X7 used by Konica Minolta as well as the ability to print with flexible material made it the right fit for this project. It produced a prototype that represented the end product, which assisted with the overall speed to market. Having Konica Minolta as an innovation partner was extremely important and the commitment the team showed in getting this off the ground was second to none.” 

Nathan Pallavicini​3D specialistKonica Minolta, said, “Konica Minolta is proud to have helped EGR’s rapid change of direction to deliver PPE to essential workers. The Markforged X7 was the right fit due to the machines flexibility, rigidity, and structural integrity. Through 3D printing, Konica Minolta can assist businesses like EGR with rapid prototyping solutions as well as with 3D printing solutions that are capable of producing enduse parts to ensure their survival and success into the future. 

John Bartley said, “Throughout this process EGR has seen the benefits that commercial-grade 3D printing can have on the business and we are definitely keen to continue down the PPE route into the future as well as explore other potential use cases. The lesson here is that Australian manufacturers need to be adaptable, diverse and able to produce materials quickly and easily with less resources. 3D printing definitely has a critical role to play here in reducing manufacturing costs and speeding up time-to-market.” 

 -ENDS- 

About the EGR Group 

Founded in 1973, the EGR Group is a world-class designer and manufacturer of precision engineered solutions marketed through two strategic divisions – automotive and building and commercial products. 

We expect innovation, both in the products we produce, and in the way we operate. We cultivate craftsmanship, preserving skills learned over generations. Most of all, though, we believe in the importance of manufacturing. 

Manufacturing is the foundation of our economies, and our societies. It defines a nation’s inclusion into the developed world. It creates stable employment and welcomes all within its ranks. It is the start of the supply chain for everything, from health care and construction, to energy and defence. 

Whatever the shape of tomorrow’s economy, manufacturing will always be its foundation. Its value to our communities, to our lives, and to our identities cannot be overstated. 

At EGR, we’re proud to be a manufacturer. 

 

About Konica Minolta Australia  

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia Pty Ltd is a market-leading provider of trusted technology solutions for enterprise, government, small business, education and manufacturing.  

Konica Minolta Australia helps Australian organisations keep pace with the needs of the changing workplace to start leveraging the technology of tomorrow today.  

Through innovation and investment in building a portfolio of technology solutions that will help organisations shape their future workplace, Konica Minolta Australia has key partnerships that extend its offering into future products such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML); robotics; robotic process automation (RPA); wearables; augmented reality (AR); data analytics; and 3D, now.  

Part of the future workplace includes creating businesses, and working with businesses, that are responsible for their impact on and contribution to employees, key stakeholders and the wider community. Konica Minolta Australia actively promotes and innovates in these areas through gender equality, ethical supply chain and climate change action strategies.  

For more information visit: konicaminolta.com.au/home 

Konica Minolta Australia spearheads 3D printing effort to provide lifesaving equipment for COVID-19

Konica Minolta, a leading supplier of 3D printing equipment and services in Australia, is working with partners and customers to help address the likely shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and ventilators required on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

Matt Hunter, innovation product manager, Konica Minolta, said, “Rapidly-dwindling supplies of PPE and lifesaving ventilators have created a nightmare scenario in other countries as they battle the virus. 3D printing offers a unique opportunity to address these shortages by providing a fast, reliable production method that means essential equipment can be manufactured and delivered to hospitals without long lead times.

“Konica Minolta knew that many Australian organisations would be eager to help protect patients and healthcare workers from the deadly virus. We reached out to key customers and partners in the 3D printing space, as well as health authorities across Australia, to see what we could do. As a result, Konica Minolta is facilitating the development and manufacture of two key pieces of equipment: the hard-to-source Venturi ventilator valve for patients; and the essential P2/N95 filters for PPE for frontline health workers.”

Konica Minolta partner 3D Systems has designed the Venturi ventilator valve for 3D printing and sent the file to Konica Minolta, which will print the valves if they become required. The 3D-printed valve uses biocompatible, sterilisable, high-temperature-resistant material, making it ideal for medical use. And, because it’s 3D printed, the team can provide high volumes at unprecedented speeds, potentially meeting demand as the COVID-19 crisis hits its peak.

The P2/N95 filter is an essential part of the PPE that healthcare workers require. It filters the virus out of the air being breathed so the wearer breathes clean air. These cost-effective masks with a 3D-printed adaptor and easily replaceable filtration can be mass-produced and sent immediately to healthcare workers on the frontline.

Konica Minolta worked with Erebus Motorsport to develop the filter, which is printed using a 3D Systems Figure 4 3D printer. An existing Konica Minolta customer, Erebus had already been in contact to see how 3D printing could help in the fight against COVID-19. Working with Supercars medical delegate, Dr Carl Le, the team created the e-Mask, a snorkel-like face mask with a 3D-printed adaptor for the easy replacement of P2/N95 filters.

The Erebus team and Dr Carl Le also designed a ventilated Perspex box, which is placed around the patient’s head and chest to provide a continuous filtered airflow, called the e-Aerosol Box. The e-Aerosol Box has already been distributed to hospitals around Australia, as the Erebus team now looks at adapting the model for ambulance transportation.

Barry Ryan, CEO, Erebus Motorsport, said, “The urgency to produce PPE equipment for our health care workers right now is at the forefront of our minds, so with Dr Carl’s guidance we identified what is most crucial and our partners like Konica Minolta have been more than willing to get in and make things happen.

“No matter how big or small, we know that if everyone pitches in then we are doing our part to help protect those who are protecting us.

“It can’t be underestimated. We need to move on things right now and do our part. We want to make sure we are in a better position than overseas, so we are doing all we can to ensure we are ready, if and when the worst hits, and teaming with partners like Konica Minolta and encouraging everyone to pitch in is our way of doing our part as Australians.”

Matt Hunter said, “At this stage, no one knows exactly what the demand will look like as Australia continues to work hard to flatten the curve. However, it’s likely that a fast response will be required to save lives. By facilitating the capacity to 3D print these lifesaving components, Konica Minolta and our customers and partners are playing a small but important role in the fight against COVID-19. Having thoroughly tested the parts, we know they work. We’re now looking to see what other customers and partners we can pull into this project to increase capacity even further, and potentially find new ways to contribute.”

-ENDS-

About Erebus Motorsport

Erebus Motorsport is a Melbourne-based Australian Supercar team, owned by Betty Klimenko and sponsored by Penrite Oil. Erebus has risen throughout the ranks of Supercars, finishing fourth in the 2019 Teams Championship, with drivers including David Reynolds, Anton De Pasquale and rising star, Will Brown.

About Konica Minolta Australia

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia Pty Ltd is a market-leading provider of trusted technology solutions for enterprise, government, small business, education and manufacturing.

Konica Minolta Australia helps Australian organisations keep pace with the needs of the changing workplace to start leveraging the technology of tomorrow today.

Through innovation and investment in building a portfolio of technology solutions that will help organisations shape their future workplace, Konica Minolta Australia has key partnerships that extend its offering into future products such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML); robotics; robotic process automation (RPA); wearables; augmented reality (AR); data analytics; and 3D, now.

Part of the future workplace includes creating businesses, and working with businesses, that are responsible for their impact on and contribution to employees, key stakeholders and the wider community. Konica Minolta Australia actively promotes and innovates in these areas through gender equality, ethical supply chain and climate change action strategies.

For more information visit: konicaminolta.com.au/home