COVID-19 Testimonial Series | Daphne Technology
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From exhaust gas cleaning system to easy-to-assemble face shield against COVID-19
The following article is part of BioAlps’ testimonial series and was written by Mrs Nina Santoro, Business Development Manager at Daphne Technology. Our series aims to provide a platform for the different life sciences actors from western Switzerland, who are active in finding and developing solutions to fight against the new coronavirus, to share their experience.
Presentation of Daphne Technology’s COVID-19 related activities
While Daphne Technology, a green technology company based in Lausanne with an office in Sweden, is specialised in an exhaust gas cleaning system, during COVID-19 crisis we made use of the skills of our engineers to design a new, easy-to-assemble face shield as a protection against COVID-19.
When the Volvo Trucks factories in Sweden stopped because of the coronavirus outbreak, Customer Manager Jenny Westermark came up with the idea to start manufacturing protective visors for healthcare workers instead of just going home. She recruited her husband, Henrik, who is a CTO at Daphne Technology, and with our colleague Sami Jelassi, we developed a design for a PETG plastic protective visor. Volvo Trucks has since produced around 18’000 face shields, and Gothenburg’s health authorities have approved our design.
Daphne’s design was inspired by simplicity and cost-effectiveness. The blueprint to manufacture the visors is available for free download, and the materials can be found at any hardware store for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
 Sweden’s Expressen
Endogenous impact of COVID-19 on the startup
It is our pleasure to help the communities around us during this pandemic, even though it was not an easy time for the company. Our research and development efforts were significantly slowed down due to the breakdown of the epidemic. The R&D department is divided between Switzerland (laboratory) and Sweden (prototype), and in consequence of pandemic and the travel limitation, the testing on the prototype was hindered. What is more, the delivery of the components also faced a major delay, changing lead time from few weeks to few months.
Exogenous impact of COVID-19 on the startup
Daphne Technology is a young company, just about to start the commercialisation of its product. The marketing is a vital function in the company, allowing Daphne to be recognised on the exhaust gas cleaning market. The most efficient way to do so is by attending maritime trade shows, which unfortunately were cancelled or postponed to next year. Furthermore, even if we are very active in online working, the initial contact with the business partner must take place in a face-to-face format, which was not possible in the last few months.
Cantonal and/or Federal support measures | Daphne Technology’s feedback
On the bright side, what we did improve during the crisis is the effectiveness of online working. While flexibility is at the core of Daphne’s values, we notice that the employees are now more at ease using different remote working tools and even having a workshop online. It is an advantage for teams coming from different countries. Additionally, we are lucky enough to be established in Switzerland and to receive great help from cantonal and federal authorities. The part-time unemployment helped us survive the initial phase of the lockdown, and the federal loans will be an aid to the company until the next financing round.