Worldwide, about 780 million people lack access to clean drinking water and about 3.4 million people die each year from water sanitation issues. A British company called Lifesaver Systems is working hard to solve that problem by giving people in developing countries their own water sterilization systems. When Michael Pritchard, the founder of Lifesaver Systems, got word that a community sterilization system was needed in rural Malaysia he wanted to help.
Up until that point Lifesaver Systems had only been producing sterilization units for individuals so Pritchard needed to prototype something much larger than he was used to; something so large that a regular 3D printer could not do the job. Pritchard turned to the rapid prototyping company Materialise, because they have their own 3D printers with giant build areas, called Mammoth Stereolithography machines.
Materialise promised they could produce the prototype unit in less than a month and assigned the project to Jonas Van Eyck who updated the CAD files and set the project in motion. "Materialise's Mammoth Machines [were], the only machines large enough to take a project such as this," the company wrote. "Once the decision was made to take on the project, things moved very quickly."
Materialise was true to their word and less than a month later Pritchard was able to feature the M1 at his Malaysian launch. After the launch, Lifesaver Systems went into full production. Today the units are being used to provide up to 2 million liters of sterile drinking water to over 42,000 people in rural Malaysia.
You can take a look at one of the Malaysian Lifesaver M1 units at work in the video below: