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  • Do you recycle the plastics?
    Yes! We carry out two type of plastic recycling, mechanical and chemical recycling. Pre-use plastics are stripped from the item once it is removed from the print-bed. This is then placed in a bin we provide, which is collected and swapped by our field engineers during maintenance visits. This same bin is used to collect other types of plastic at pharmacies or outreach locations. Post-use plastics are those which are placed in a bin after they have been used. These can contain any number of contaminants and we have special processes to deal with each. However, all our mechanical recycling and remanufacturing is done at high enough temperatures to kill all pathogens (195 to 350 degrees Celsius)
  • How are Automedi and its products regulated?
    Automedi had many things to consider. 1. Whether the Automedi appliance was a medical device. 2. Whether what it produces is a device 3. Who the manufacturer is We worked with the MHRA, BSI and NICE to evaluate the regulations that apply and what falls within scope. Both the MHRA and NICE confirm the Automedi appliance is not a medical device. However, given the versitility, it can manufacture medical devices. So catalogues are made available to health establishments who assume manufacturing responsibility in accordance with in-house manufacturing rules and, with the healthcare client, marked accordingly. Of course, we also offer non-medical catalogues, like lab products and accessories. More information on the regulations Automedi operates under, can be found at:
  • How much does it cost for equipment?
    Automedi uses a circular subscriptions model. As it is billed at a fixed price every month no matter how much you make, it makes a price comparison quite difficult. Since it's effectively all inclusive. Make as much as you need. There are different ways of trying to compare old and new models. You can find out more about price comparisons, including a worked example, in this blog post.
  • The NHS wants to reduce plastics. Is using plastics a good idea?
    Towards Net Zero (October 2020) demonstrated the NHS commitment to the environment. That's great, but plastics by themselves, are not automatically evil as long as you choose the right plastics (plant based) and process them correctly (recylable, and recycle it). That is what makes this a great question. The NHS will adopt reusable items instead of single-use, disposable items, as long as safety, sterilisation and climate costs are maintained and employ novel polymers, like PLA (made from waste plant-based plastics) where it can't. Unlike stainless steel and glass, plastics are strong, light and require a lot less energy to process, clean and recycle. Eradicating plastics completely risks greater injury, higher costs and sometimes a bigger overall carbon footprint than reyclable bioplastics due to the amount of cleaning or the higher initial processing temperatures. Automedi works from a standard mains outlet, uses fully recyclable bioplastics and recycles them on-site. Removing all logistics and haulage from the cycle. Meaning its energy footprint is 33% of the standard plastics lifecycle. Contributing up to a 92% reduction in carbon footprint per kg across its lifetime and crucial cost savings at the same time.
  • It is brilliant! Why can't I just take these and replace all manufacturing?
    We have big plans, sure! As amazing as that is, over time this requires the creation of a huge network of Automedi appliances to match existing supply. Our subscription replacements mean faster devices will be provided which can start to get us closer to our goal of cutting out logistics and reducing both emissions and plastic creation as the appliances become faster and more efficient. For now, Automedi takes its place in emergency alternative, on-demand supply.
  • Do your bioplastics degrade after recycling?
    Plastics can begin to degrade after multiple recycling generations in mechanical recycling processes. However, the effect of this can be mitigated through over-engineering, thoroughly mixing different age plastics and using chemical recycling. Which can take plastics from under half a dozen recycles before degradation to over 100 times. This means that each item used compensates for 100 of the same item. When combined with the mix of bioplastics (lack of crude oil derivatives) and emissions from delivery and freight, this means 1kg of plastic items makes up for 687kg of CO2. A radical reduction in carbon footprint.
  • How scalable is Automedi?
    Very! Automedi is different. It basically splits up the capacity of a factory into lots of little bits and collects a few bits with a Reclaimer, and puts that cluster where it's going to be used, not where a factory can be placed. Items are made on demand, where it's used, from recycled material collected where it's used, there isn't any freight or disposal emissions. Also, while it's being made to demand, there isn't anywhere near as much of a requirement for storage. Because it never takes you 7 1/2 to 8 weeks to get an item into your hands. Though you can pre-make a small number of items if you wanted to (and there are use cases where it's beneficial to hold a small store of maybe 5 items per machines for immediate capacity). But the greatest demonstration of scale is what it can do when the machines work in parallel. Because Automedi is “Demand Side” manufacturing, it is placed where the people need stuff, not where we can put a factory. This means you don't need freight or logistics. Example: An order arrives for 1 million items. A conventional factory warms up the machines and starts putting the plastics in at one end for three or four machines in a line to then pop something out at the other. Suppose it makes 10,000 items every hour. This completes the order in 100 hours, running 16 hours a day. It then takes 0.75 days to pallet up and send out in a lorry. Say each Automedi appliance on its own delivers 50 items every hour. It sounds a lot less, but remember they operate in parallel and each machine is located where it's going to be used. Saving the freight and logistics time. 50 items are also well within what would normally be requested by an individual GP surgery say. Since this platform effectively places hundreds and thousands of manufacturing nodes in pharmacies, GP practises, hospitals etc. together with the reclaimers, 20,000 machines can work in parallel, and delivers 1,000,000 items within one hour! In the hands of care staff
  • What are "Resin Codes"?
    When looking at a plastic, 'Resin codes' or 'Resin identification codes' are a way to identify the type of plastic you have. They are normally drawn with a number inside a recycling symbol and often with the text underneath. This ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System, often abbreviated RIC, was developed in 1988 by the Plastics Industry Association in the United States, but since 2008 it has been administered by ASTM International, an international standards organization. Take a look at the list below and see if you can identify the types of plastic in some of the stuff around your house.
  • What is the carbon footprint of the device itself? How does it compare to existing models?
    The device's parts are manufactured by the machines that make them up. In essence, the machine mostly make themselves, using the plastic. This lets us test the appliances by using the fixings themselves as the test models. If they hold together well, they pass. If operated continuously, each device emits the equivalent of 153.6kg of CO2 per year, per device. Requiring 23.6 million devices in a space the size of the UK, to start to meet the same footprint as the existing delivery emissions. The UK doesn't require 10% of that value to meet its existing demand. Furthermore, the energy used can come from renewable sources. This is not currently possible for the rest of health equipment manufacturing.
  • How does its carbon emissions compare to existing logistics?
    Automedi doesn't have a delivery step. So, the technical answer is only the emissions required to deliver the device to you in the first place and we are seeking electric vehicles for this too. If operated continuously, each device emits the equivalent of 153.6kg of CO2 per year in manufacturing. To get the same footprint as the NHS, 23.6 million devices would need to be used in a space the size of the UK, to start to meet the same footprint as the existing delivery emissions. 10,000 times more than the number of automedi devices needed to service all hard plastics demand. Furthermore, the energy used can come from renewable sources. This is not currently possible for the rest of health equipment manufacturing. Much of which relies on coal.
  • What sort of plastics can you recycle?
    We take lots of different types of hard plastic for recycling. Some of them can't be taken by other facilities because they can't be sorted or aren't appropriate for recycling. We take the following types of plastics. Resin acronyms are shown in brackets and the number is shown after the hyphen: Polyethylene Terepthalate (PET) - number 1. Commonly used in plastic soft drinks bottles. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) - number 2. Normally used to make milk and fluid bottles and most bottle tops Low Density Polyethylene (LDP) - number 4. Some bottle tops and milk bottles Polypropylene (PP) - number 6. Usually medicine pots and face-masks Bioplastics - number 7. PLA and only hard plastics. This is most common in bottle tops, though lots of compostable bags and cutlery also use it. We can take lids, cutlery and other hard plastics, but not carrier bags yet We also take recycled versions of the same plastics as well as pellets or nurdles of PET and the above. So if you live near a beach, and they wash up, we're keen to hear from you. We are always expanding our plastic range. So check back often to find out what we can collect.
  • What is the energy impact of the 3D printers?
    During “standby”, 0.014kW (note, the machines are also designed to physically be switched off – no phantom energy from us) During operation: 0.120kW. We have designed our print appliances to use as little power as possible. In contrast, conventional injection moulding typically operates on three phase power supplies at 21kWh/h to 43.5kWh/h. It also has a heat up-phase lasting 60 to 90 minutes. Consuming 48.4kWh of energy before making a single batch. Automedi’s heat up phase is included in the above calculations. Meaning in total, 100 Automedi machines printing even 1 item each (to give the most conservative comparison possible) consume 12kWh, while to manufacture the same number of products conventionally, is 91.875kWh cold. We can operate over 400 Automedi machines, printing in parallel, on just on the power of 1 injection moulding system and produce 4 to 120x more things in about the same time without the packaging energy, nor the delay of shipping or transporting any of it.
  • Why do you do so many SDGs? Why not focus on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions?
    The Greenhouse Gas Protocol scopes 1, 2 and 3, are designed for reporting and policy-making, not for science, engineering or solutions. Concentrating only on scopes creates sub-optimal climate systems and maintains the economic inequity in all cases. This is sadly a physical fact that has got lost in the focus on trying to deliver policy change, which itself doesn't align with scientific change. Until the introduction of scope 3 emission reporting, scope 1 then scope 2 focus, allowed a loophole for dirty/polluting companies to create more damaging systems. Even now, concentrating on Net Zero, allows breaches of other stainable development goals (SDGs) like human trafficking, slavery and child exploitation. None of which are dealt within most Net Zero plans at all, but all of them are contributory, often nonlinear factors that magnify the effect of climate change. We are lucky our team are uniquely placed to rethink those systems from the ground up and develop ways of projecting that onto the scope reporting requirements desired by policy. Doing it the other way round to most organisations allows us to be more rapid in change and comprehensive in effect. It's also why we can hit 17 SDGs out of the box. Putting us more than 10 years ahead of where policy and common understanding is now. We think that's where everyone needs to be.
  • How do you model your Carbon footprint?
    As our business model is based around a cradle-to-cradle carbon footprint under one roof, We are our own supply chain for more than 97% of our footprint. meaning a comprehensive report come to entirely impossible in every other organisation who has a supply chain outside their own. We own our footprint fully. This is unique, but also allows us to change the way we do things extremely quickly. We calculate the net emissions of two stages. Full life cycle emissions for net operational carbon emissions and add “capital” carbon emissions from indirect facilitation activities, like travel to conferences, food and general transportation. We attempt to ensure we do as little of the latter as possible, or substitute digital or more local events we and attendees can walk to or use public transport, so we don't significantly add to that “capital” footprint. Our data from official sources (e.g. UN, World Bank, BEIS, EU etc) but these can differ from each other. So we also build and run a stochastic carbon model, with a carbon input-output matrix at its core to cover the difference. This is a technique that is used in the scientific policy a sector to model carbon flows and is also the first step in identifying unknown carbon sources or sinks which may or may not exist in regular assumptions (forensic modelling). That verifies or cross-checks the carbon accounts of any suppliers too.
  • Why is your modelling so weird?
    We are a radically different organisation to almost anybody else on the planet. Automedi starts at Net Zero and only reduces from there. To become this rapid, we had to do things slightly differently. Luckily, our extremely experienced team, who developed many of the mathematical systems the UN since uses in their SBTi. This means we have the skills in house do do things better than the mainstream market. We don’t calculate our emissions purely on the greenhouse gas protocol scopes. We project our model into that for reporting purposes. Why we do that, is explained in our blog. We at Automedi know that you are not doing any sustainability if you're not doing all the SDGs at the same time. Even in one particular area. This means we must consider lifecycle emissions as a whole (not just in scopes), but remain aware organisations in the wider ecosystem want to report on GHGP scopes. We do this without losing the ability to report on Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions and also engineer solutions across the lifecycle, which is not something that segmented scopes let you do. You can never reconstruct the missing SDG data from GHGP scopes because it simply isn't captured. This means organisations reporting on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, in silos, cannot check the integrity of their supply chains and have not got the data to make effective decisions on how to engineer carbon out of their system. Especially if they rely on deep supply chains for that data. Many end up having to offset significant emissions simply by planting more trees. We believe in reducing CO2 first. To read more about our mathematical contributions, check out the Jordanian Social Accounting Matrix for 2006 and also see our contributions to Health-Climate-Economics on the Open Science Foundation (
  • How do you model the health benefits?
    We use the Health-Climate-Economic modelling technique "Alali et al" referenced in the BMJ, to include a comprehensive approach to non-linear climate effects in healthcare. It's the only technique in the world that ties together these two footprint "blocks" and is a process being considered by the Scottish health service to close the climate gap in health-economics.
  • Do you export waste?
    No. None of the plastic waste we collect and process, is exported. We are very strict in the waste we collect and work with clients to enforce waste collection expectations. All waste that we collect is processed in the UK, and mostly within 15 minutes of its collection site.
  • Do you use offsetting?
    While our main activity is plastic circularity and its associated Carbon and transport reduction, we are also keen to help regenerate communities and deforested areas. We have a portfolio of partners that help us do that and that we support. This includes a multitude of partners, services, charities and community groups who also help us meet our targets of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Check out one such partner. Play it Green. Who help with one of the charities we support and also help with the tree planting arm of our operations. Circle Acres is our digital garden where you can track our independent carbon sequestration activity from trees.
  • How do you sterilise infectious waste?
    These can contain any number of contaminants and we have special processes to deal with each. For example, wet/cold sterilisation, sterilisation sprays, microwave, "sanitiser bombs" or UVC in the bins and Reclaimers. All our mechanical recycling and remanufacturing is done at high enough temperatures to kill all pathogens anyway (195 to 350 degrees Celsius). Each sterilisation method is chosen based on where it is hosted in the community or hospital grounds and forms part of our risk assessment for every site.
  • What types of sterilisation have items been tested with?
    The products produced by Automedi can be sterilised and cleaned a variety of ways. Cold sterilised using sterilising fluid (e.g. Milton), microwave sterilisation, ultrasonic baths and even dishwashing! Each product is provided with its sterilisation codes which tells you which sterilisation methods are usable on that product.
  • Can items be sterilised in an autoclave?
    Traditional autoclaves are falling into less and less use. However, we have a range of ways of making items autoclave sterilisable, depending on the product design. Our optional high-temperature bioplastic filaments are able to absorb repeated treatment in autoclaves with less than 1% deformation in each axis.
  • Do you suggest we sterilise equipment that has just been produced?
    Sometimes, yes. The reason sterilisation is necessary for some applications is nothing to do with the manufacturing process and everything to do with where it is, how it's handled and who's doing the handling. While tests show zero biological matter can survive the 200 - 250 degrees centigrade of print or the 400 degrees of recycling, there is a risk someone may handle it without clean hands. So it's good practice to sterilise where needed. The same is true in traditional manufacturing. Production machines, while cleaned, don't immediately leave clean plastic. It is treated before sealing and this hasd to be double sealed for transit (which of course, emits CO2 at a rate of 160g/km/kg, where this process does not).
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