The Australian Army has pivoted from using 3D printers to maintain its unmanned aircraft to using the technology to rapidly produce 400 face shields for frontline healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic in partnership with a Brisbane-based company.

Design technology company 3D One Australia, used Army’s 3D printers from the 20th Regiment of the Royal Australian Artillery (20 RAA) to produce the face shields for medical staff in Brisbane.

The Regiment produced the headband component of the face shield, with the frames then were provided to 3D One who provided filament, assembling and distribution of the shields.

The company also completed the manufacture and sanitisation of the full face shields to Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) standards, and distributed to medical agencies as needed.

Australian Army soldier Craftsman Jayden Middenway (left), from 20 Regiment Royal Australian Artillery hands over a box of face shield frame components to Mr Bruce Caulley, Managing Director of manufacturing company 3D One Australia, based in Salisbury, Brisbane. (Photo: Commonwealth of Australia)

Officer Commanding, Combat Service Support Battery of 20 RAA Major Matthew Chapman said his unit typically uses 3D technology to maintain Army’s Unmanned Aerial Systems.

“The Army is an agile force and our 20th Regiment has a strong presence in the local Brisbane community,” Major Chapman said.

“The Regiment quickly came on board with 3D One’s project following the company’s crowdsourcing callout last month to help manufacture the face shield frames.”

Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds CSC said this is another example of Defence and Australia’s local manufacturing industry working together to support the Government’s response to COVID-19.

“This initiative is not only boosting the supply of face shields in Queensland and expanding industry capability, but also demonstrates how Defence can readily adopt and adapt new technologies.”

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