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Northeast Ohio companies shifting gears to manufacture PPE for healthcare workers

Laird Plastics, P. Graham Dunn, Akron MakerSpace among the NE Ohio businesses shifting gears to manufacture face shields.

CLEVELAND — Here in Northeast Ohio, a number of companies are stepping up and shifting gears to make personal protective equipment for our front-line healthcare workers.

P. Graham Dunn
You'd normally find workers at P. Graham Dunn creating wall decor. They have two locations in Canton and Dalton.

Today, their assembly line is producing face shields.

"We still have quite a bit of hand assembly that's done and in this case, we were able to convert our hand assembly lines into lines that can produce PPE," said Anthony Burdette, VP of Marketing, P. Graham Dunn.

Anthony Burdette with P. Graham Dunn says the company was going to have to lay off the majority of their factory employees. This move has allowed them to keep at least 25% of their workforce.

"We can keep people employed which is huge and keep our workforce active and paid. It's also an awesome opportunity to work together to keep each other alive," said Burdette.

Laird Plastics
Laird Plastics, which has more than 40 locations around the country and 4 in Ohio, has completely re-purposed their facilities.

"We set the prototype and once we set the prototype it became easier for us to scale up to produce a lot of them," Roger Plizga, Laird Plastics.

Laird Plastics is also manufacturing face shields – sending them around the country and here in Ohio.

Because they switched gears, Roger Plizga says he was able to keep all 400 of his Northeast Ohio workers employed, including employees at the Stow location.

Plizga estimates that half of all of the Laird locations are now producing face shields.

"Many of the orders we're taking locally are going back to the hospitals in Ohio," said Plizga. "I started to talk with my team on how we can scale this up through out network to keep our people employed because if we weren't doing this, we may have to lay people off. It became much larger because we can only produce so many. So I said let's reach out to our customers. And by making these face shields, they can stay employed and become essential businesses and keep their labor force up and running. We built up a pipeline."

Laird expects to be producing 1.5 million face shields by the end of this week.

Akron MakerSpace
On a smaller scale at Akron MakerSpace, volunteers are now making hundreds of face shields and surgical masks to donate to our local healthcare workers.

"Right here is the face shield. It's a 3D printed frame. This is a mock-up. And this here is the surgical mask. This is to go over an N95 mask to act as a splash guard to make the N95 mask last longer." said Devin Wolfe, President of Akron MakerSpace. "Almost all of these are staying within Ohio. I have some going to Akron, Cuyahoga Falls and even up to Cleveland."

Akron MakerSpace is a nonprofit that typically provides space, tools, and training to people in the community.

MakerGear

MakerGear in Beachwood is currently manufacturing and shipping face shields to healthcare workers in Ohio and New York.

"We are currently capable of producing face shields at a rate of ~100/day. We are being inundated with requests for thousands more and we are working quickly to increase production capacity," said Mike Pollack, of MakerGear.

Click here for our special coronavirus section.

Battelle

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Columbus-based Battelle’s system that can decontaminate thousands of masks a day, according to a statement from the company.

Battelle told 3News sister station 10TV on Sunday night that the approval is for the use of the technology at “full capacity.”

According to a press release sent Sunday night from Battelle, the company’s CCDS Critical Care Decontamination System is now operating at Battelle’s West Jefferson, Ohio, facility. The facility is capable of decontaminating up to 80,000 respirator masks per system each day using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide. The company can sterilize up to 160,000 masks daily in Ohio alone.

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