SPEE3D 3D prints anti-COVID-19 copper surfaces

By Allen Jack

Australian manufacturing company SPEE3D has announced that it can 3D print anti-microbial copper capable of killing COVID-19 pathogens. 

Staying true to its company philosophy of making manufacturing easier, SPEE3D has developed a fast, affordable method of layering copper onto metal surfaces - the press release claims that these can kill 96% of COVID-19 on contact in two hours. 

Solving an industry problem which previously meant copper parts were difficult to produce quickly, the company’s in-house developed ACTIVAT3D copper is made via intricate control algorithms on the printers.

Despite stainless steel’s widespread usage as the choice metal for hygienic surfaces, it has no adverse effect on COVID-19. The utility of copper is profound when considered with the recent lab tests conducted by accredited facility 360Biolabs: 99.2% of the virus died within five hours when in contact with copper. 

Ushering in a new industry standard

Byron Kennedy, CEO of SPEE3D, was confident that what his company had achieved represented an important breakthrough in the journey towards eliminating coronavirus. 

"The lab results show ACTIVAT3D copper surfaces behave much better than traditional stainless, which may offer a promising solution to a global problem. 

“The technology can be used globally addressing local requirements, be they in hospitals, schools, on ships or shopping centres,” he said.

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This is an opinion apparently validated by the scientific community: Larry Holmes, Assistant Director of Digital Design and Additive Manufacturing at the University of Delaware, confirmed that his team were excited to be a part of the ACTIVAT3D copper collaboration.

“We recognized the importance of developing simple, yet highly impactful, solutions that have been proven effective on COVID-19. Recognizing supply chain shortfalls over the last couple of months, it was clear to this team that fabrication speed was a priority. 

“Using this technology, we are able to rapidly transition safe options for high-touch surfaces."

The added benefit of SPEE3D’s product is the effect it may have on ushering in a new industry standard. Whilst decontaminating cleaners might once have sufficed for sanitary purposes, the company asks whether such precautions should be ingrained in objects themselves.

Indeed, it could be said that copper’s natural ability to eradicate bacteria, viruses and other undesirable microbes makes it a logical successor to steel and plastic in the food and healthcare industries.

Further studies on SPEE3D’s product is already set to be funded by NERA (National Energy Resources Australia), whose CEO, Miranda Taylor, is already a staunch advocate of ACTIVAT3D:

“We're committed to assisting [SPEE3D] leverage its skills and expertise in this important new paradigm to help our country and many others curtail the devastating impact of this global pandemic.

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