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COVID-19 Manufacturing News Digest: May 20, 2020

Manufacturers across the world are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in many different ways. These are some of their stories.

igus Produces Headbands for Face Shields

igus,. Cologne, Germany, is donating 100,000 headbands made with injection molding to apply to face masks to help medical professionals reduce their exposure during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Prusa, a 3D printer manufacturer, has developed a face mask and placed the design on the internet for downloading, free of charge. The mask can be used to protect physicians, nursing personnel and other healthcare providers who work directly with patients. The goal is to produce as many face shields as possible with 3D printing. igus, a motion plastics manufacturer, is assisting the effort by producing headbands. More than 10,000 components leave the Cologne factory each week to accelerate assistance to healthcare professionals. The headbands help to hold the personal protective equipment in place while healthcare workers assist the patient.

Daher Deploys its Kodiak aircraft to Airlift Medical Ventilators

In April, Daher, Sandpoint, Idaho, expedited delivery of emergency medical equipment to California –which was hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic – in a joint effort with Percussionaire Corp., the producer of ventilators for treatment of critically ill patients. Daher and Percussionaire both have operations in Sandpoint, Idaho, and they teamed up to airlift 240 high-frequency percussive ventilators to California’s capital city of Sacramento during two flights on April 15-16, utilizing a new-production Kodiak 100 Series II airplane. Contacts between Daher and Percussionaire were established via the Bonner County Economic Development Corporation, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources and support for North Idaho businesses. The city of Sandpoint is located in Bonner County.

Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation Supporting COVID-19 Relief Efforts

The Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation, El Segundo, Calif., has launched a campaign to provide up to $750,000 to support COVID-19 relief efforts in communities where Aerojet Rocketdyne facilities are located. The campaign includes direct funding from the foundation and an employee donation matching program. The Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation is donating $250,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in communities across the nation where Aerojet Rocketdyne employees live and work. In addition to the direct grants, the Aerojet Rocketdyne Foundation will match dollar-for-dollar, up to $250,000 in employee donations, to a nonprofit of their choice that is supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. This funding could provide up to another $500,000 in support to COVID-19 relief efforts in our communities.

Nexa3D Launches Service to Deliver NexaShield PPE

Nexa3D, Ventura, Calif., the maker of stereolithography production 3D printers, announced today the launch of a service to deliver NexaShield PPE, which uses 3D printing to produce protective gear for healthcare and other essential workers on the frontline. Established as a direct response to the urgent requests for PPE, Nexa3D paused its everyday printing services in favor of producing face shields and test swabs on its ultrafast printer.

MWES Joins The COVID-19 Outbreak Fight With GE Healthcare

Midwest Engineered Systems, Waukesha, Wis., has partnered with GE Healthcare to help build ventilators faster. GE tapped the firm to help expand their production capacity after hearing of its successes in automating the manufacturing of precision valves for GE’s turbine engine division. One area where MWES has been asked to help immediately is in mitigating component testing bottlenecks. The company is building eight calibration stations for the control valves necessary to run the ventilators. The new test machines duplicate and expand GE’s current capability in configuring the components, giving the firm far greater production capacity for lifesaving ventilators.

Two Oakland County (Mich.) Manufacturers Receive Grants to Make PPE

An Oxford, Mich.-based manufacturer of ice hockey equipment and a Pontiac, Mich. company specializing in knitwear were awarded “Saving Business, Saving Lives” grants to make PPE. The grants, awarded to Vaughn Custom Sports and Detroit Sewn, were announced today by Oakland County Executive David Coulter. They were the first two companies to receive grants from a $700,000 fund proposed by Coulter and approved by the county Board of Commissioners to incentivize Oakland County manufacturers who can shift production to personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns and face shields.

HelpOneBillion Launches COVID-19 Unemployed Network

In response to the global economic impact of COVID-19, millions of  Americans have filed for unemployment. Despite the layoffs and furloughs, many employers in healthcare, food, grocery, retail, manufacturing and delivery services are actively hiring. Phenom, a global human resource technology company, has launched HelpOneBillion, Philadelphia, an initiative uniting individuals experiencing job loss with committed companies that are hiring, such as General Motors, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and The Hershey Company. A curated, growing network of 500,000 verified jobs from over 100 companies hiring now, was designed to simplify the job search process and quickly connect people to the opportunities they need.

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