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. According to their website, 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 6000 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.
The Making of the LIFESAVER M1 Prototype
Michael Pritchard first approached Materialise’s UK team on the 16th of March, 2012 with the question of whether it was possible to get a visual prototype 3D Printed, assembled, finished, and ready for the big launch in Malaysia less than a month later. With such a large prototype required, getting everything finished on time would be a challenge, but the UK team was up to the task.
Once the decision was made to take on the project, things moved very quickly. Under the supervision of Jonas Van Eyck, changes were made to the CAD files of the LIFESAVER M1 to ensure that not only could the parts be built on Materialise’s Mammoth Machines, the only machines large enough to take a project such as this, but that the parts could also be quickly and accurately assembled when finished. With the clock ticking, errors at any step of the process would mean missing the deadline and a launch event without the star of the show.
With the files complete, the Mammoth’s went to work and by the 23rd of March, Michael was able to see the finished parts during a quick visit to Materialise’s Belgian headquarters. These parts were re-enforced and by the 27th, they were on their way to a team of finishers who worked around the clock to complete the project in time.
By the 5th of April, the LIFESAVER M1 was ready for its long trip to Malaysia for its grand unveiling and a visit from UK PM David Cameron.
The LIFESAVER M1: Ready to Change Lives
With the launch a great success, Michael can now focus on full production, which is expected to begin in August 2012. When it is up and running, the incredible M1 project will provide up to 2 million liters 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 liters/min all without the use of chemicals or a power supply.