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Materialise engineers help bring LIFESAVER M1 project to life

posted 29 Jun 2012, 02:25 by RiDO Rotherham   [ updated 25 Mar 2013, 09:24 ]
Engineers from Materialise UK have helped to bring to reality a concept that will help to make sterile drinking water available to some of the world’s most remote locations.

LIFESAVER® systems, a British company founded by Michael Pritchard in 2007, is already responsible for helping hundreds of thousands of people worldwide produce safe, sterile drinking water. As their website states, their “customers and users range from canoeists paddling up the Amazon, Haitian families recovering from the ravages of the 2010 earthquake, soldiers scavenging water in the green zone in Afghanistan and kids on gap years abroad.” 

With around six thousand LIFESAVER Ultra Filtration jerrycans already distributed in the Malaysian Peninsular and Sarawak, feedback came in that a larger community-centered system would be of great benefit to the region. So began the LIFESAVER M1 project, a joint venture between LIFESAVER systems Ltd. and H20 Saver SDN BHD. Then when, at short notice, a visual prototype was required for LIFESAVER M1’s official launch in Malaysia, Materialise helped Michael make it happen. 

There was less than a month to get a visual prototype of the LIFESAVER M1 3D printed, assembled, finished, and ready for the launch event in Malaysia. The Materialise UK team based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) worked with Michael and his colleagues to ensure that changes were made to the original CAD files, to make certain that not only could the parts be built on Materialise’s mammoth prototyping machines in Belgium, the only machines large enough to take a project such as this, but that after production the parts could also be quickly and accurately assembled.

The manufactured parts were re-enforced during the production process, before being sent to a team of finishers who completed the project in time for shipping to Malaysia. The event included a visit by UK Prime Minister Mr David Cameron, and the reception for the LIFESAVER M1 has been so positive that full production of the units should commence in late summer 2012.

When it is up and running, it is estimated that the incredible M1 project will provide up to 2 million litres of sterile drinking water to over 42,000 people in rural Malaysia. As it is designed to integrate with existing rain water harvesting systems, the M1 will be able to instantly transform stored rain water into drinking water at a rate of 30 litres / minute, all without the use of chemicals or a power supply.