For many industrial sectors, maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols in the workplace has presented a unique set of challenges. Where groups of workers used to congregate along assembly lines and around equipment, distancing and additional protective measures are now commonplace and necessary to minimise health hazards.

According to Safe Work Australia, physical distancing and control measures such as hygiene screens are crucial to maintaining individual safety, where the spread of Covid-19 remains a risk. The plastics manufacturing industry in Australia has experienced high volumes of product demand over the last couple of years, as businesses have sought to deploy screening precautions in cafes, restaurants, offices, retail and industrial settings. 

Recently, a U.S. based warehousing and distribution company began development of a new site in Sydney, where SpecFast has demonstrated a proactive service, tapping into Motion Australia’s capacity as a full-spectrum supplier.

“This business has been an existing customer of Motion North America for a while,” explains Grant Gray, National Sales Manager at Motion Australia. “This new local project has called for a huge product requirement in quite a short timeframe.”

Inside the warehouse, 204 worker stations are situated along a picking line, requiring the installation of plastic screens on a mobile tracking system. After receiving the original componentry order, the team at SpecFast saw an opportunity to extend their involvement in the project, saving the customer on extended lead times and cost.

“Originally we just received a list of fasteners, which we compared with what the company had been using in the U.S.,” explains Mark See, Business Region Manager at Motion Australia. “We quickly found that they were non‑compatible for the Sydney site, so we came up with a tailored solution to meet the local requirements.”

“Following that, when we were sent photos of the job and saw that the application was on PVC plastic screens, we realised that we could actually be providing the whole thing to the customer,” Mark elaborates. “So we went back to them and offered a full solution, including the screens and the corresponding metal framework.”

The final order consisted of 204 polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Covid-19 safety screens, fasteners, electrical componentry, and other relevant parts needed to put together the overall apparatus. 

“We met the order in time and on budget, which they were really pleased with considering the widespread delays occurring across supply networks right now,” explains Grant.

“The customer was originally planning on bringing in all that equipment from their own supplier in the U.S. via airfreight, which would have been at significant cost. By liaising with our own representatives overseas to secure this deal, we ended up with a win-win for both businesses.”

The SpecFast workshop in Lambton has established plastics and metal fabrication capabilities, and plenty of experience manufacturing Covid-19 safe screens in PVC, polycarbonate and acrylic materials. Because of their position within the Motion Australia group, the workshop has access to a broad selection of supply of industrial parts such as belts, chain, and bearing solutions.

“In 2020 we were distributing lots of these plastic screens internally through the Motion Australia network,” says Mark. “This led to some customer enquiries on their availability as well. Because we had done it before, we were able to spring into action to secure this opportunity and deliver above expectations.”

The customer will undoubtedly be planning to open more distribution centres in other states, and Motion Australia has demonstrated a commitment to going above and beyond the industry standard.

“We are tapping into a huge potential of our business portfolio here in Australia,” says Grant. “Where we can keep all key stakeholders in‑house and supported by our Motion Australia team, ensures all key deliverables such as quality and supply expectations are met.”

“Relying on our key experts, a lot of whom have many years of experience in the field, certainly helps to bolster our presence in the international market as a one-stop‑shop in circumstances like this,” Grant concludes.