In celebrating one year of Detmold Medical, we are proud to release our Behind the Mask story, a reflection on how we pivoted to localise the manufacture of face masks at a time of incredible need for Australia.
Our call to arms
In February 2020 the WHO declared the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) a public health emergency of international concern.
Within days, our Federal Government responded by activating the Australian Health Sector Emergency Response Plan.
As part of this response, the SA and Federal Governments approached the Detmold Group to secure a reliable supply of locally-manufactured Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to safeguard Australia’s frontline healthcare professionals.
It was a call to arms we answered, and we committed to producing 145 million face masks, extending our manufacturing capabilities into a new direction to help fight COVID-19.
Drawing on experience
PPE was an entirely new industry and product category for the Detmold Group.
However, as global specialist manufacturers of packaging products for the foodservice and retail industries, we already had world-class innovation, procurement, engineering and supply chain teams in place.
Most importantly, as an Australian family-owned business, we were able to pivot quickly, driven by our entrepreneurial spirit and a collective purpose: to take care of those who care.
These factors, together with our brand reputation in South Australia and our commitment to quality, service and efficiency, led the government to select Detmold Group for the task.
Detmold Medical was founded, and so began our record journey to producing L3 and D95 Respirator masks for the frontline.
Detmold Medical completed an 18-month project in just 18 weeks.
Rapidly establishing our manufacturing facility, we commissioned over 20 new pieces of machinery, with our on-the-ground engineers needing to learn quickly about new machines.
Today, we have the capacity to manufacture a million face masks a day.
Along the way, we pioneered key elements not just for our business, but for Australia, too.
We began manufacturing face masks at a time when Australia had no testing capabilities.
Our learning of testing processes resulted in a decision to partner with the CSIRO, SA Health, Flinders University and the University of South Australia to ensure the products’ performance to Australian Standards.
Close collaboration with SA Health enabled us to fit test and refine the D95 respirator mask at the product development stage, ensuring a better fit.
In October 2020, we founded a new in-house laboratory facility to promote local capability in product refinement and quality assurance.
Into the future
When we were first called to arms, masks were precious commodities, reserved for frontline healthcare workers.
Since then, evidence has become clear that masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the WHO now recommends them for the general public.
Masks have become part of our everyday armoury to help fight the virus.
Thanks to our manufacturing capability and localised supply chain, we can protect supply and consistently safeguard Australians in times of significant disruption such as COVID-19.
We will continue to innovate and refine our highest-quality and proudly Australian-made products for use here and across the globe to take care of those who care.
Although face mask requirements are constantly changing throughout Australian states and territories, face masks are currently mandated to be worn on board all commercial (domestic and international) aircrafts and in Australian airport terminals in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 before and in-flight. Read on to learn more about which mask is best suited for air travel.