AM in the time of COVID-19AM Industry

SPEE3D’s 3D printed ACTIVAT3D copper gets first practical use in COVID-19 protection

AM technology used to cover up handles and other critical surfaces with antimicrobial copper

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The Northern Territory Department of Trade, Business and Innovation has become the first organization to deploy antimicrobial ACTIVAT3D copper throughout its building to help fight the spread of COVID-19. Tests confirmed ACTIVAT3D copper ‘contact kills’ 96% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in just two hours.

Darwin, Australia-based SPEE3D recently announced the successful development and testing of ‘ACTIVATED copper’, a fast and affordable way to 3D print anti-microbial copper onto existing metal surfaces. The Australian NATA-accredited clinical trial specialty laboratory, 360Biolabs, tested the effect of ACTIVAT3D copper on live SARS-CoV-2 and results showed that 96% of the virus is killed in two hours and 99.2% of the virus is killed in 5 hours. Stainless steel showed no reduction in the same time frame. The initial testing of ACTIVAT3D copper and future studies have been funded and supported by NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) – the country’s Industry Growth Centre for energy resources.

ACTIVAT3D copperThe SPEE3D team then developed a process to coat stainless-steel door touch plates and handles in under 5 minutes. In a wonderful example of the Northern Territory embracing local innovation, the first order for ACTIVAT3D copper came from The Northern Territory Government. SPEE3D was contracted to replace existing door handles within The Northern Territory Department of Trade, Business and Innovation with ACTIVAT3D copper products. With these handles now installed, staff of this Department, and the community they interact with, are already experiencing the benefits of antimicrobial copper.

“The Department of Trade, Business and Innovation is thrilled to be the first to have this innovative technology installed in our workplace, ensuring an even safer place for our staff and community to do business here. We thank our landlord for agreeing to the installation of copper handles. It is great to see a local Territory company taking advantage of this very challenging time and drive a new innovative product that can further protect Territorians from COVID-19,” said Department of Trade, Business and Innovation CEO, Shaun Drabsch.

The lab results have sparked global interest in this technology as Governments and private companies look for proactive ways to protect their communities. Whilst SPEE3D was able to pivot their business and rapidly go into production of antimicrobial copper door fixtures to meet this demand, their specialty is in the design and manufacture of metal 3D printing equipment and software. With this technology now proven and inquiries coming in from around the world, SPEE3D is looking to partner the door handle manufacturing industry to deliver ACTIVAT3D copper at scale to where it is needed most.

As a long-time project partner of SPEE3D, NERA’s CEO Miranda Taylor says that their ability to successfully adapt their technology and pivot their business model demonstrated the resilience of Australian businesses and their potential to help the world combat COVID-19. “NERA has supported SPEE3D develop market-leading technologies to help our national energy sector, and we’re committed to assisting them to leverage their skills and expertise into this important new paradigm to help our country and many others curtail the devastating impact of this global pandemic.”

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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