Local Manufacturers Shift Gears To Help Combat Covid-19
Several local manufacturers have stepped up to help address shortages of Personal Protective Equipment, (PPE), hand sanitizer, Covid-19 tests and life sustaining hospital equipment. Below are a few of the stories but we suspect there are many more heros in this fight and invite you to share your stories with us. This pandemic caught us all by surprise and the order to close all non-essential businesses on March 19th rocked our world. This decision of who is essential and who is non-essential failed to consider many of us that are in the supply chain of manufacturing medical supplies & equipment. Therefore many Alliance members that did not make the list of essential businesses but should have were encouraged to submit a waiver and plead your business case.
Today we are grateful these re-considerations were made because when manufacturing business leaders are faced with adversity, they not only rise to the occasion but go above and beyond the call without seeking any focus on their efforts. Most manufacturers I have met are natural problem solvers. I personally would like our community to be aware of these selfless acts & know that we (The Alliance) are very proud of everyone that joined the fight.
On March 25th we launched our Manufacturers Discussion Group and Alliance members began sharing ideas on how each could be involved with providing solutions by making some of the high priority items needed by healthcare workers. On April 1, Karla Trotman of Electro Soft Inc. in Montgomeryville PA had the first 100 PPE Face shields ready to be delivered to Einstein Hospital in Philly. Karla shared Stamford Health’s Dr. Chudnoff designs with the leadership team of Computer Components located in the Greater Northeast and Nielsen Kellerman located in Boothwyn PA. Together they enhanced the original designs in an effort to produce a more effective PPE face shield.
Frank from Computer Components partnered with Butler Technologies Rapid Response Prototyping and they die cut 1900 blanks…free of charge. All three companies assembled the face shields and they were delivered throughout the region to hospitals and first responders including the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium – a group that has been all over the national news for their work in under served communities. Computer Components shipped their shields directly to Bucks County Emergency Management agency in Ivyland PA.
Word of this initiative got out and now Electro Soft has requests for over 14,000 face shields that they are currently trying to fulfill. So far shields are being delivered to hospitals in NY, Missouri and our own Penn Presbyterian Hospital in Philly. Alix James and her team at Nielsen-Kellerman obtained materials to make another 10,000 shields and the NK production team is delivering them to Temple Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Penn Presbyterian Hospital, Delco Nurses and have even sent completed shields up to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, MA.
We also understand that the Bucks County FabLab team has also been manufacturing face shields on their 3D printers and have delivered over 800 units to Doylestown Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Abington and St Chris in North Philly.
Total Molding Services Inc. near Quakertown & Faber Distilling Company in Telford PA shifted gears in early April from Vodka & Gin to make Hand Sanitizer with 80% alcohol. My Girlfriend discovered it in McCaffrey’s Supermarket and we have since learned that cases have been delivered in bulk to area hospitals, police departments, fire departments, various National mail carriers in our region. Consumers can purchase this high-octane sanitizer online through https://fabersanitizer.com/.
Stephen Tang and the team at Orasure Technologies in Bethlehem has been tapped by the US Dept of Health to develop an In-Home Self-Test for Covid-19. They have already developed the OraQuick platform for other types of virus testing were results are available in 20 minutes of testing. It has been 3 weeks since this announcement and anticipate good news on this front soon.
Our very own John Shegda of Meron Medical in Warminster PA has been producing parts for a large medical device manufacturer that makes suction regulators found in many hospital rooms throughout the world. The demand for these intricate devices grew 600% in cities like NYC, Philadelphia and for New Jersey area hospitals. The manufacturing teams involved have been working 12 hours a day, 6 days/week plus half days on Sunday.
“During this pandemic we have shipped product to some very familiar names in New York City including NYU, Cornell and Colombia. We had two days where we delivered product the same day, our teammates were actually the courier that would pick up from our plant and deliver there. Closer to home we have shipped product to UPenn, Abington and Thomas Jefferson. “
Additionally, John got a call from an engineer at General Motors who needed help with parts for the ventilators they are manufacturing. Sounds like they have been able to address their current grinding challenge internally, but you never know…things change quickly on these front lines.
Our friends over at EF Precision Group have been turning precision parts and assembling a high-end disinfection fogging unit for a long-term client. Normal production levels were 2o pieces per month of these units. Over the past month the EF Group team has produced 200 of these complex machines with demand still growing. They are being used to disinfect EMS vehicles and critical healthcare venues. It has been all hands-on deck in Willow Grove for the team at EF Precision.
“Our people are performing extraordinarily well, and we are proud of what they have accomplished in such a short period of time.” Said Bud Tyler.
This team has re-invented the production and assembly process in an effort to implement social distancing, PPE for all involved and raised the sanitation standards way beyond what is required by the Department of Health and the CDC.
We suspect that many more manufacturers in Pennsylvania have been tasked with shifting gears to meet the challenge of combating the Coronavirus. Our front-line workers in essential businesses where many different masks and we wish to say Thank you to everyone that is doing their part to make a difference. Let us hear from you in the comments below or by email firstname.lastname@example.org on how your team has risen to the challenge.