Australian maker of 3D printers SPEE3D hasn’t let the Covid-19 pandemic hinder the founding of a German subsidiary. And the company may have an ace up its sleeve.
Expanding a business in times when global economies are struggling to cope with the coronavirus crisis may seem daunting, but Australia’s SPEE3D pressed ahead and set up shop in Germany, formally establishing its presence in the northern German city of Lübeck on April 6. Germany Trade & Invest assisted in this process.
The company’s 3D printers can work at three times the speed of sound and are aimed at industries such as shipbuilding, aerospace, electronics and defense. But they also have another application of particular relevance in corona times: cold-spray 3D-printed copper coating. As a recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine has shown, the coronavirus is less capable of surviving for long periods on copper than on other surfaces, making it a potentially useful tool in fighting the spread of viral diseases.
“It’s a well-known physical property that copper surfaces have a disinfecting effect, repelling and helping to kill viruses,” said SPEE3D European Managing Director Stefan Ritt. “In our tests in Australia, we found that 96 percent of the corona virus was dead within two hours. This technology can not only produce new objects but can also be used to coat existing surfaces. To take one example: door handles at places like shopping malls or airports.”
The company hopes to hit the ground running in 2020 and is aiming for a seven-figure turnover in its first year of operations.
“Our products are big-ticker investments, so we realize that we need to be patient,” added Ritt. “But we think that we have a good chance of attracting immediate interest with our copper coating application. Thus we expect to be generating our first revenues in Germany in the near future.”