Launch Pad collaboration supports innovative ‘Maskbuddy’ to help combat COVID-19

Western Sydney University’s Launch Pad Technology Business Incubator offers its congratulations to PPC Moulding Services – one of ten organisations to receive a NSW Government grant to upscale the production of their innovative face mask in support of the pandemic response.

PPCMS is one of the core members of Launch Pad’s ‘Western 4.0 – Western Sydney Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Cluster’ – an industry network focused on driving growth and development through innovation and job creation-based support.

Grahame Aston, Managing Director at PPCMS, said the idea for the high-quality re-useable P2 half face mask dubbed ‘Maskbuddy’, came about during the devastating bushfires of 2019, with the mask now having a growing role in the state’s first line of defence against coronavirus.

“We knew that we could come up with a mask that would filter out smoke particles. We were also aware that we would not have the mask ready for the current fire season, but wanted to give an offering and hope for the seasons ahead to keep those rural communities safe,” said Mr Aston.

“As we were developing the mask, COVID-19 reared its ugly head so we had to look at a change of tack as we then thought, if we could find a filter that covered protection for the virus, we would be able to offer a mask that offered multiple protections for the wearer.”

According to Mr Aston, the mask is unique in that it is a sealing, cleanable mask with a disposable filter. It protects the wearer as all of the air inhaled must pass over the filter which captures a higher percentage of particles.

Mr Aston said being associated with Launch Pad has allowed his businesses to work collaboratively with the University, including on new marketing and technology strategies.

“It is important for start-ups to have an avenue or forum in which ideas and guidance can be formed. It could be as simple as looking at printing up 3D models, or having students crunch numbers on new ideas or designs – Launch Pad are there to assist businesses to reach their potential,” he said.

The NSW Government grant will assist PPCMS in setting up production of Maskbuddy. Receiving the grant has allowed PPCMS to increase its workforce, including through additional operator, warehouse and sales roles based in Sydney’s South West.

Don Wright, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Western Sydney University, offered his congratulations to the PPCMS team.

“At the core of the Western 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Cluster is a knowledge and expertise exchange – PPCMS has been a key member since the program’s inception two years ago, and we’re excited to see the expansion of the Maskbuddy product and PPCMS’s operations here in Western Sydney.”

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