Lindsay business making face shields
DAN CEARNS Local Journalism Initiative for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: To help with shortages of personal protective equipment during this COVID-19 pandemic, Whitney Plastics in Lindsay has started making face shields.
The company’s president, Dale Schumacher told The Standard why they started making these shields.
“[In the] second week of March, before all of this really blew up, there was a lot of media attention to 3D printing face shields. So they’d be 3D printing the visor part and then the clear plastic on the front. We’re a thermoformer, or vacuum former, and we use a lot of clear plastic that we [can make the front of the shield from], “he said.
After finding the current 3D printing process was not ideal for his company, Mr. Schumacher was able to make some modifications.
“I took the 3D print and modified it so I could vacuum form it. I made a tooling so that I can vacuum form the visor instead of 3D printing the visor. Instead of printing one visor for six hours, I can vacuum form 700 to 800 visors in one hour,” he explained.
While waiting on correspondence from Health Canada, Whitney Plastics has provided shields to several local community organizations.
“We just went the private route. I’m selling to optometrists, I’m selling to veterinary clinics, I’m selling to old age homes, I’m donating a lot to old age homes,” Mr. Schumacher said. “We’re very excited, very positive. We are giving a lot of the shields away because of the red tape, and it feels really good doing it.”
Whitney Plastics can make between 7,000 and 10,000 shields per week.
Mr. Schumacher doesn’t mind donating shields to help during this pandemic. “Since we don’t [usually] sell up here, we’re actually selling a product in the small town and the recognition is good, but knowing that I’m helping out and saving some lives down the road or immediately feels even better.”
So far, the company has had a positive response from those they are supplying with shields.
“What they’re saying is basically ‘where have you been?’ You can only put up with so much red tape,” Mr. Schumacher said. “We’ll be sending some up to [Ross Memorial Hospital] in the very near future. As a small company, you don’t mind handing out 50 to 100 [shields], especially to a hospital. But when Ontario starts ordering 10,000 or 20,000, then you have to get paid for that stuff.”
While hoping to do business with some of these organizations in the future, Mr. Schumacher has no expectations.
“If it happens fine, and if it doesn’t, I’m happy with that too,” he said. “The important thing is if the hospitals don’t have them, we have to get some out to them. We’ve never made a product where we get praised for it. This is a product we are getting praised for, and it really does feel good.”