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Australian Defence Force (ADF) has joined forces with Axiom Precision Manufacturing to produce face shields for frontline healthcare workers fighting against the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The company is already distributing 600 new face shields, which have been designed by Defence Science and Technology Group (DST).

Australia Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that the partnership will ensure the country sustains enough supply of shields as the virus continues to spread.

Reynolds said: “The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring our frontline health and aged care workers have access to masks and other personal protective equipment.

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“This includes boosting domestic manufacturing capability and capacity, and creating a pathway through to manage the virus.”

Axiom is currently producing approximately 1000 face shields per day. The collaboration aims to optimise the manufacturing process.

The lightweight shield can be worn comfortably for longer periods and is made from materials that Australia has ready access to. It is also cost-competitive to manufacture compared to imported masks.

The production of the face shields is complemented by the advanced manufacturing capability existing in Australia.

Australia Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said: “Many of the Aussie companies with contracts in defence are advanced manufacturers working at the cutting-edge and there are great cross-over opportunities that exist as a result of that.

“Whether it’s expanding into medical supplies as we’re seeing in this case or expanding into space or other precision manufacturing – our advanced manufacturers will help Australia come out the other side of this pandemic stronger than ever.”

Additionally, DST is stocking invasive ventilators for future requirements.

Med-Con also received ADF support to boost production of surgical face masks.