South Australian packaging company Detmold Group has inked a contract with the South Australian and Federal Governments in the production of millions of respirator and surgical masks.
The project was initiated by SA Health.
The company, which usually produces packaging for fast-food businesses like KFC and McDonalds, is expected to employ up to 160 extra staff to produce these products in its bid to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Both governments have reached an agreement with Detmold to produce 145 million masks from their Brompton manufacturing plant in Adelaide – 45 million for SA Health and 100 million for the Federal Government’s National Medical Stockpile.
Specialised machinery will be installed at the factory with production expected to begin in May.
South Australian premier Steven Marshall said the move provides a “welcome boost” for local jobs while also meeting the growing demand for respirator and surgical masks during these challenging times.
“Through this partnership we can be confident we will have an uninterrupted supply of respirator and surgical masks to provide our doctors and nurses working on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said Detmold is the latest in a line of Aussie companies rising up to the challenge of COVID-19.
“This is a fantastic example of how our strong manufacturing base in Australia puts us in a position to be able to make more of the medical supplies we need during the outbreak of this virus,” Andrews said.
“Increasing local production of these items ensures Australia is well-positioned to meet the demands of COVID-19 as the situation continues to evolve, particularly as global supply is constrained by export restrictions and increased demand from countries around the world.”
Detmold CEO Alf Ianniello said his company is extremely proud to be stepping in to help during this unprecedented health crisis.
“Detmold is a South Australian company with a long history of employing locals, so to be able to assist with both flattening the curve in this time of crisis and helping keep South Australians in work is immensely rewarding,” Ianniello said.
“Work has already commenced on the manufacturing facility which is located in Brompton, South Australia and production will start by May of this year.
“We expect to have the capacity to manufacture over 20 million masks per month by June. This significant investment in local manufacturing capability will ensure adequate supply of critical personal protective equipment for the medical industry and all Australians.”