During its more than 40 years in business, Automation Tool & Die (ATD) in Valley City, OH, has manufactured all types of safety critical components for automobiles and industry. In response to a public safety need during this pandemic, Cuyahoga Community College reached out to ATD to provide an innovative, economic option to address the PPE shortage. ATD did just that by making face shields, which they plan to continue producing and offering at a fair price for as long as they are needed.
Cadillac Oil in Detroit, MI, is producing gel hand sanitizer so that customers and communities have the proper products needed at this time. Cadillac Oil typically manufactures metalworking and metal forming fluids in addition to automotive and industrial lubricants and greases. Formulated following World Health Organization guidelines to use 70-percent isopropyl alcohol, Cadillac Oil’s hand sanitizer is readily available in one-gallon containers, five-gallon pails and 55-gallon drums.
In response to COVID-19, The Davis Groupe in Murfreesboro, TN, is offering products to aid companies in keeping their employees and customers safe. Available products include hand sanitizer, surface sanitizer and personal space guards. The guards are designed to be used during any heath crisis, the recovery process, and to help prevent the spread of not only COVID-19, but any additional possible threats that can be passed through face-to-face contact.
Qualtek Manufacturing Inc., has stepped up to help produce critical medical equipment amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, Qualtek is a metal stamping operation that typically builds parts for aerospace and medical devices. For now, the aerospace side of their business has been put on pause and instead the company is focusing on making respiratory-specific medical device parts. These items are desperately needed to help save the lives of people battling Coronavirus.
One part being produced is the laryngoscope, used during intubation when a patient needs help breathing. "Normally we'd be making somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 a year. Now we're pacing to two million," says President Christopher Fagnant. Qualtek has also started building another ventilator part – a heat exchanger plate, which serves as the base of a humidification or oxygen chamber in a ventilator. This piece must be changed out patient to patient. Fagnant plans to produce 50,000 heat exchange plates by the end of June. Qualtek Manufacturing has not only been producing these critical parts, but also has added shifts, hired more employees and put other projects on pause to increase production. Read more.
After seeing a news story about a local fabricating shop producing metal nose strips for homemade face masks, Edward Morris, president of P/A Industries in Bloomfield, CT, took action. He knew that he could significantly increase the number of strips produced and contacted the fabricator. Within 24 hours, Morris and his team reengineered their machines, convinced a metal supplier to donate the first coils and started production.
All of the production was donated with the help of Erickson Metal, Hillery Company, and Marion Manufacturing. These metal nose strips are being shipped around the country to groups ranging from sewing clubs to health care organizations, from 45,000 in three weeks to 120,000 strips in 18 hours. Morris plans to make 400,000 metal strips and is recruiting other manufacturers to join in the effort. See P/A’s video here.
Ahaus Tool and Engineering, Inc. partnered this week with Primex Plastics to bring much-needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to medical facilities. Ahaus, which traditionally manufactures workholding and automation solutions, has committed to assembling over 500,000 shields in the next few weeks.
President and Co-Owner Kevin Ahaus is pleased with the opportunity. “Ahaus team members have jumped into this project to help make a difference,” he said. “I am proud of the willingness of everyone here at Ahaus to help. This is a great team that cares about how they can do good things together.”
Jeff Sheridan, Vice President and Co-Owner said, “This is a big change of pace for our team as we normally build automated equipment to support the production process. Now we get a chance to be immersed in the production process. The high volume production of these medical face shields is definitely taking us out of our normal mode of business, but I am proud to see our team step up to the challenge of helping our medical professionals.”
Read more here.
Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), in Hillsborough County, FL, has joined the fight against COVID-19. SMT produces precision parts, predominately for aerospace and military customers. They also make the valve housings for an important medical application – a ventilator. Orders have surged in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and SMT stepped up by tripling its weekly production in the early days of the outbreak. SMT aims to produce tens of thousands of valve housings for the ventilators, part of the national effort to manufacture some 50,000 ventilators.
SMT shipped 3,383 housings in March, will make at least 4,000 parts in April, plans to double their output in May and has recently received an order for 30,000 more units. To keep up with the demand, the company spent $70,000 retooling its machines. “We don’t have a clear idea of the demand,” says SMT Owner and President Roy Sweatman. “It’s as many as you can as fast as you can.”
SMT continues to prioritize worker safety along with production by staggering shifts, renting another facility to keep workers apart and cleaning and sanitization of workspaces.
Read more about SMT’s work here.
Superior Die Set in Oak Creek, WI, produced a custom mold base used to manufacture plastic parts for ventilators. The typical lead time on such a piece is five to seven workdays, but the Superior Die Set team delivered its first order in less than two days. “We’ve acted on this promptly realizing that this is a good thing for our company and to rally our troops around this to be able to help society and to be people that are sick,” said CEO Martin Girga. The company is taking the appropriate steps to avoid layoffs during these unprecedented times. These steps includes Girga taking a cut in his own pay. “My idea right now at this point is the business while it’s slowed down, it’s still healthy enough for us that we want to make sure we’re retaining employees as much as we can,” he said. Read more.
When healthcare workers in Northwest Connecticut called for more PPE, Okay Industries immediately accepted the challenge. With the help of their community and local leaders, Okay Industries found a space for production, a design for a face shield and funding. The superintendent of schools, Nancy Sarra, gave the CEO of Okay Industries, Jason Howey, access to New Britain High School with no hesitation. Howey called David Obedzinski, president of the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain and, “he had $20,000 to buy supplies, elastic, plastic and foam, within 24 hours.” Over 30 volunteers stepped up, an assembly line was created and the group made 1,000 shields on their first day of production. Within one week 22,000 masks came off the assembly line and 14,000 are being donated to Hartford HealthCare. “In times of crisis, people want to help,” Howey said. Read more here and here.
Ajax Metal Forming Solutions in Minneapolis, MN, has partnered with the University of Minnesota’s Earl E. Bakken Medical Devices Center (BMDC) to manufacture parts for its generation 3.2 ventilator prototype, called the Coventor. A member of the Ajax board read about the BMDC project and realized that Ajax was in a good position to help. Ajax Metal Forming Solutions manufactures parts for HVACR, healthcare, transportation, agriculture, and other critical industries. “What was most gratifying to me was the enthusiasm our colleagues had for this project," said Ajax President Kent Djubek. “We prioritized this work because we knew the need was extreme. Community service has an empowering effect on people.” Ajax provided all programming and consulting services, materials, and labor for this project at no cost to the BMDC. Read more.
High Tech Laser & Polishing High Tech Laser & Polishing is making up to 200 face shields a day and has donated quantities ranging from 25 to 100 to various facilities including local health care clinics, testing facilities, senior living facilities, and funeral homes. The company wanted to help with the PPE shortage and knew that they could cut out the clear polyester plastic material on their laser machines. Based on a shield from the shop, they redesigned it and made their own version of a face shield suitable for frontline workers. With foam for the forehead and elastic for the strap, the company converted a conference room to an assembly line.
Owned by a third generation of the Wiegel family, Wiegel Tool Works, Inc. in Wood Dale, IL, is keeping its business strong amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The current health crisis is not the first time that the business has endured challenging times. The company was founded on December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed, and in the 1950s, assisted with the Korean War effort by manufacturing tooling for 50-caliber-machine-gun links. Today, stamped parts for respirators are among the products Wiegel Tool Works manufactures. Wiegel not only specializes in metal stampings, but also designs and builds tools and dies for OEMS and tier manufacturers, serving a variety of industries. Read more.
Mursix Corp. in Yorktown, IN, has shut down some of its automotive lines to make face shields for healthcare workers in hotspots such as New York, Massachusetts, Michigan and Indiana. Mursix Co-Owner Susan Carlock, a former ER nurse, decided to pivot her business to provide PPE to frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis. “I have such a passion for our frontline workers and what they’re going through. It tears my heart apart to know that they can’t get the simplest of PPE,” said Carlock. The company is producing 500,000 face shields each week for those in dire need. Read more.
Lubrizol Corporation in Wickliffe, OH, has partnered with GOJO Industries to donate bottles of hand sanitizer to hospitals in Cuyahoga, Summit and Wayne counties. This donation will amount to more than 16,000 liters of hand sanitizer and will provide 1-liter bottles for each patient room in hospitals through the month of May. Lubrizol provides a polymer that serves as a thickening agent in Purell and GOJO Industries manufactures the gel hand sanitizer. Eric Schnur, Lubrizol President and CEO, said the two companies are committed to the communities where they are rooted. Lubrizol is a worldwide chemicals company, headquartered in Wickliffe with other sites in Greater Cleveland. “Both of our organizations feel a deep sense of responsibility to serve our local communities where so many of our employees work and live,” Schnur said in a news release. Read more.
Linear Transfer Automatic Inc. in Barrie, Ontario, has started producing reusable face shields for front line healthcare workers in their community. Linear Transfer Automation manufactures transfer automation, de-stackers, loaders, and press to press automation. As the demand for PPE remains high, they have also made their open source instructions for producing reusable face shields available. Read more.
When North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper asked local companies to shift their businesses to help make personal protective equipment (PPE) to combat the ongoing spread of COVID-19, US Metal Crafters in Archdale jumped in. Partnering with Winston-Salem Mixxer, Inc. to help scale up efforts, US Metal Crafters has provided PPE to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Read more.
Linamar Corp. and Martinrea International, along with Magna International and Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, reached an agreement with the province of Ontario to focus much of their ventilator-building efforts on three projects. The three projects include ventilators built by Thornhill Medical, Brampton, Ont.-based O-Two Medical Technologies Inc. and General Motors Co. and Ventec Life Systems. Growing demand for health services prompted nurses to call for more medical equipment to deal with COVID-19. Read more.
Jagemann’s Murfreesboro, TN plant now is manufacturing disposable face shields. Not only does this help frontline healthcare workers, but it also enables Jagemann to continue to employ its 90 employees as they provide for their families. “We are pleased to be able to continue employing our staff while assisting in the fight against coronavirus helping keep the country’s healthcare workers safe and protected,” said Nathan Dudney, Jagemann’s Director of Sales and Business Development. The company is working diligently to source sufficient material and capacitize lines that previously produced components for Ford Motor Company. Jagemann has committed to producing 1,000,000 face shields in the next 60 days. Read more.
Several customers have turned to Roll-Kraft in Mentor, OH, for assistance in retooling to manufacture products to meet the needs of the community. One customer, Welded Tubes, Inc., was awarded a contract to manufacture hospital beds to meet the demands brought on by COVID-19. The company turned to Roll-Kraft when realizing its mill needed additional tooling for production, which Roll-Kraft was able to do in less than eight hours. Joe Frandanisa, Welded Tubes company president commented, “On behalf of our entire Welded Tubes team, I want to express our thanks to Roll-Kraft for its unbelievable service and support.” Read more.
Bazz Houston International in Garden Grove, CA manufacturers springs, stampings, wire forms, fourslide, enclosures, laser/ turrets, assembly & tooling. Bazz Houston has been producing and donating custom-made face shields to local frontline workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Check out the company’s video thanking these workers.
KAPCO Metal Stamping, based in Grafton, WI is helping to address the loneliness and social isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic by collecting and delivering cards to frontline workers and seniors. "Just showing people that we care, and we love them, and that we're thinking of about them at this time," said Jim Kacmarcik, president of KAPCO Metal Stamping.
Members of the community simply send their message to KAPCO in the mail or online and KAPCO delivers it. Families have taken this project as a way to give back to healthcare heroes and show their support for isolated senior citizens who may be struggling. "Our goal is to gather tens of thousands of these cards and letters from all over the area. And hopefully go bigger than southeastern Wisconsin at some point in time," said Kacmarcik. "Our hope is we are sending these in bulk to New York, and to Florida, and to California, all around the country -- from Milwaukee with love." Read more.
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