Four Australian manufacturers wheel out rapid response to COVID-19

Four Australian manufacturers have teamed up with one of the world’s leading medical technology companies—in record time—to map a local supply chain, adapt design specifications, create prototypes, and begin production of an Emergency Relief Hospital Bed in response to COVID-19.

One of the world’s leading medical technology companies Stryker has quickly realised that healthcare facilities around the globe desperately needed emergency hospital beds to cope with the influx of patients in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortunately, Stryker’s US-based parent company had a design for an Emergency Relief Hospital Bed. Unlike the old steel camp beds, Stryker’s design features an adjustable head rest, which is critical in treating patients with respiratory illnesses. In addition, the design can be fitted with a standard hospital mattress and manufactured from readily available componentry.

Traditionally an equipment supplier, Stryker South Pacific jumped at the opportunity to establish a local manufacturing capability. When Stryker South Pacific’s President, Maurice Ben-Mayor, described the emergency hospital bed design to AMGC’s Managing Director Dr Jens Goennemann, the wheels were set in motion.

A Testament to Agility and Partnership

In a true testament to the agility and collaborative nature of Australian manufacturing, AMGC assembled and connected a full supply chain, ready to start work on the project, within just three hours.

Mattress manufacturer A.H. Beard, wheel and castor maker Fallshaw, vehicle conversion specialists AmTek Australia, and fabrication and engineering company Varley Group all signed up to help Stryker South Pacific get production moving as quickly as possible.

Together, the five project partners worked with Stryker’s US-based design team to clarify specifications and supply requirements, and to adapt the design to local conditions.

Within three days, the project partners had a prototype sitting on their factory floor. Within a week, the Stryker Emergency Relief Hospital Bed was with the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration for certification.

According to Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, “This rapid response is an incredible feat and shows how Aussie companies are quickly working together in the face of this unprecedented pandemic.”

“The fact that these beds can be manufactured from readily available components, shipped and stored as flat-packs and then assembled on-site with hand tools demonstrates the kind of ingenuity that is helping Australia respond effectively to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Minister Andrews.

As a result of the collaborative partnership, Stryker is now able to produce 1,000 hospital beds per week for Australia and the broader South Pacific region. The first beds are expected to be wheeled into Western Australian hospitals within the next week or so.

Innovation and Collaboration at its Finest

AMGC’s Managing Director, Dr Jens Goennemann said, “The ability of Australia’s manufacturing industry to respond in times of crisis demonstrates just how strong and adaptable our manufacturers are.”

“Via the Stryker project, AMGC has linked a 130-year-old fabrication business, to a 120-year-old Australian mattress manufacturer and a 100-year-old Australian caster company, all of whom are working side-by-side to deliver an advanced manufacturing solution to address the current COVID-19 crisis – it is innovation and collaboration at its finest,” said Dr Goennemann.