Darwin 3D printing company SPEE3D is trialling a technique for copper-plating door handles and other metal touch surfaces to fight the transmission of COVID-19. Steven Camilleri, SPEE3D CTO and co-founder, demonstrates the results. Picture: Che Chorley
Darwin 3D printing company SPEE3D is trialling a technique for copper-plating door handles and other metal touch surfaces to fight the transmission of COVID-19. Steven Camilleri, SPEE3D CTO and co-founder, demonstrates the results. Picture: Che Chorley

Darwin to be world trial site for new tech to combat COVID-19

DARWIN is to be a world testing ground for the use of antimicrobial copper in the war against coronavirus.

The Territory's world-leading metal 3D print specialists SPEE3D has successfully developed and tested a fast and affordable way to 3D print antimicrobial copper onto metal touch surfaces.

If the Darwin trial is a success, SPEE3D's revolutionary printers, which are already deployed worldwide, will be able to start churning out replacement copper metal touch surface parts.

Excitement has been raised about the trial after laboratory tests showed that touch surfaces modified by this process 'contact kills' 96 per cent of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in just two hours.

Further tests showed 99.2 per cent of the virus is killed in five hours, while stainless steel, which is currently the material typically used in hygiene environments, showed no reduction in the same time frame.

 

The NT Government's Development House will be the world testing guinea pig with SPEE3D next week replacing all touch metal surfaces within the building with the antimicrobial copper parts.

Door handles will be replaced with antimicrobial copper as will other stainless steel touch surfaces.

SPEE3D co-founder and chief technology officer Steven Camilleri said its new process allowed it to coat existing parts with copper.

"Copper is naturally antimicrobial and is known to disrupt and touch kill microbes, bacteria and viruses that come into contact with the surface," he said

"This can be used in surfaces that are contamination points in public places.

"We now have the technology to automatically coat parts such as door handles, hand railings, and push and pull plates for bathrooms and so on.

"With our antimicrobial copper coating we can combat the virus spread from metal touch surfaces."

 

Mr Camilleri pointed to hospitals, retirement homes, airports, train stations, shopping centres and cruise ships as candidates to turn to the new technology.

"This is about enhancing people's ability to avoid touch contamination from live viruses," he said.

Originally published as Darwin to be world trial site for new tech to combat COVID-19


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