Aussie manufacturers volunteer virus help

 

EXCLUSIVE

Hundreds of Australian businesses have volunteered to fight the coronavirus in any way they can.

Companies ranging from alcohol distillers ready to produce hand sanitiser to automotive manufacturers offering to build medical ventilators have listed capabilities with a COVID-19 response register developed by the government's Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre.

AMGC managing director Jens Goennemann said the response shows many businesses want to help.

"The response from Australian Manufacturers registering their intention to support efforts tackling COVID-19 has been outstanding," he said.

"Since launching the AMGC portal at midday today we have had over 230 Australian manufacturers, suppliers and individuals register their support for the cause across multiple manufacturing sectors - a huge response."

AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann. Picture: Alison Wynd
AMGC managing director Dr Jens Goennemann. Picture: Alison Wynd

The portal, supported by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, allows businesses to report manufacturing expertise, material stocks, individual skills and other factors which could help address the crisis.

Dr Goennemann said the response demonstrates the depth of capability, capacity and knowledge present in the Australian manufacturing sector, and highlights that manufacturers stand ready to support the government as part of a co-ordinated national response.

The factory responsible for Bathurst-winning race cars, Australian V8 icons and massive American utes is ready to down tools and produce medical equipment if needed.

Ryan Walkinshaw is co-owner of the Walkinshaw Andretti United Racing Team. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Ryan Walkinshaw is co-owner of the Walkinshaw Andretti United Racing Team. Picture: Tim Hunter.

 

Ryan Walkinshaw says his company has opened talks with the Victorian Government about producing medical equipment such as ventilators which may be in short supply as the pandemic develops.

"We feel that we can help reduce the impact of a serious health crisis," Mr Walkinshaw said.

"That ranges from ideas such as building ventilators through a partnership with a current manufacturer, through trying to design, engineer and build our own makeshift ventilators.

 

Cages of ventilators at the New York City Emergency Management Warehouse. Picture: AP
Cages of ventilators at the New York City Emergency Management Warehouse. Picture: AP

"We're also exploring another solution of working with a partner in Australia on designing our own ventilator … if there is a serious shortage of ventilators further down the track I'm sure there would be a large proportion of people who, rather than having no ventilator, would have a more agricultural one."

Car makers in the UK and US are already working to produce vital medical equipment.

A director of the Walkinshaw Automotive Group which includes Holden Special Vehicles, the Walkinshaw Andretti United race team, New Age Caravans and the American Special Vehicles business which converts US-made Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram trucks for use on local roads, Mr Walkinshaw says his staff are ideally placed to render manufacturing assistance.

(L-R) Ryan Walkinshaw team owner of Walkinshaw Andretti United congratulates James Courtney. Picture: Getty
(L-R) Ryan Walkinshaw team owner of Walkinshaw Andretti United congratulates James Courtney. Picture: Getty

The business has research and development experience, along with access to 3D printing, metalwork, plastic moulding, electrical expertise and fabric trim production.

"We're one of the largest manufacturing business in Australia, and certainly one of the most capable," Mr Walkinshaw said.

"We're merely putting our hand up, letting the government - local, Victorian and federal - know what we're capable of doing.

"It may be ventilators, it may be face masks, it may be medical gowns, it may be testing equipment, it may be mobile testing stations which we can manufacture with our caravan business.

"We have been contacted, and we are just going through that process now with the Victorian government."

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Aussie manufacturers volunteer virus help


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