Over the last couple of months, the government has put out a call to Canadian manufacturers to help meet the demand for PPE (personal protective equipment) — the vital equipment needed to ensure that healthcare staff and front-line workers can safely do their jobs and help all of us through this crisis.
Uprooting traditional operations, and changing production lines on a dime is easier said than done, but many manufacturers, including Quebec’s own Machitech Automation, have answered that call and started to produce masks, face shields, and other vital supplies. This equipment has been vital in helping protect frontline workers from the coronavirus and fill a much-needed gap in Canadian supply chains.
Below, Machitech, a Genius ERP customer, answers our questions and tells us what they are making, how they are doing it, and why they think it is important for everyone who can get involved in the fight against COVID-19.
What are you producing specifically?
Being a manufacturer of automated cutting equipment, we had 2 CNC Routers that we usually use for customer demos available so we decided to put them to good use. We also joined our forces with a local 3D printing company to put our R&D 3D printers to good use.
We are producing anti-contagion shields made of acrylic for essential businesses like restaurants, banks, grocery stores, etc.
We’re using our CNC Routers that are built by our sister company Total Cut CNC in Victoriaville, Quebec. We are also using our 3D printers to print protective visor frames coupled with a rigid plastic sheet, for hospitals and other essential businesses.
The families of our employees also put together 500 homemade visors using velcro straps to give out locally around the factory.
When did you start?
We started around the second week of April. Because of our status as an essential business, we had to continue manufacturing and supporting our essential customers, meaning we couldn’t put all our efforts into making the anti-contagion shields.
Still, we were able to put together close to 700 in about 2 weeks time with material provided by our partner that dealt with distribution. We have joined forces with a local 3D printing company (Deveau3D), lending them our 3D printers which have been running full-time for the past month helping build around 3000 visors.
As for the homemade visors, we heard that our local community was in need of PPE so we took it to ourselves to find a creative way of providing them visors in a quick and free fashion. Thanks to our dedicated employees’ families, we were able to assemble about 350 in 2 days to be given to the local shops and businesses. The plastic sheets and velcro straps were given to us by the local school board and TrackZ, a local wheelchair company.
Why did you decide to do this?
From Christian Giguere, President of Machitech: “We think it’s important for every company to dedicate the resources they can to help curb the coronavirus, and we had the manufacturing power to do it so it was a no-brainer for us. Our local community is very important to us and as one of the biggest employers in the region, we felt we needed to do something to help out.”
Have you produced items like this before?
It was the first time we specifically made acrylic shields but, being in the CNC Router manufacturing industry, we had a lot of experience working with the material and had all the tools on hand to do it.
Are you selling/delivering the items in Quebec only, or internationally as well?
We’ve been working with a partner that has been selling the anti-contagion shields in Quebec but also to the Northeastern part of the USA.
How has your business been impacted by the lockdown/slowdown?
Our business is doing quite well considering what is happening to some other industries. The biggest impact is on our manufacturing capacity that was reduced because of the Essential businesses law that restricted the number of employees that could be present on-site.
Genius ERP would like to give a huge shout out and thank you to Machitech for answering the call and converting manufacturing resources towards producing PPE.
We have always believed manufacturers to be the backbone of our country —they have helped to pull us through some of the toughest times we have faced in the past — and will do so again today.
Although the business has been anything but usual these past few months, if we all continue to pull together, lend a helping hand, and do our part we will get to the other side.
Thank you Machitech Automation!
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