Canadian Manufacturing

Manufacturers stepping up to deal with the pandemic [UPDATED]

by CM Staff   

Canadian Manufacturing
Manufacturing Operations Automotive Food & Beverage

While all North American manufacturers, both large and small, are facing uncertainty, many are putting their talents and resources into fighting COVID-19

PHOTO: Adobe Stock

COVID-19 has created both a health and economic crisis of unprecedented proportions.

To learn about how to address operational, financial and human resource issues surrounding the pandemic, check out our April 1 webinar:

While all North American manufacturers, both large and small, are facing uncertainty, many are putting their talents and resources to work churning out equipment to help fight the pandemic.


Ontario creates $50M fund for businesses to retool to make medical equipment

More masks, ventilators on the way as industrial response to COVID-19 ramps up

For more information on what manufacturers are doing to help out, check out this story from Canadian Manufacturing‘s sister publication Manufacturing AUTOMATION:

Manufacturing companies pivot to produce PPE, medical devices for COVID-19 fight

Here are several examples Canadian Manufacturing has been following of manufacturers going above and beyond:

Clean Works

The Clean Works Health Care Mini has the capability to sterilize new and used N95 masks and other PPE products. PHOTO: Clean Works

Beamsville, Ont.-based Clean Works, a produce sanitization firm, has gone from working with fruits and vegetables to manufacturing mobile units that can sanitize N95 masks amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of sanitizing fruits and vegetables, the Clean Works Healthcare Mini was designed to clean personal protection equipment (PPE) for health care providers, including new and used N95 masks.

PPE is placed into the Clean Works Healthcare Mini and moved down a conveyor belt into a treatment chamber, where the masks are sanitized with the help of UV light, hydrogen peroxide and ozone.

Beamsville, Ont.-based Clean Works builds units to sanitize N95 masks

SleepWorks Medical

B.C.-based SleepWorks Medical Inc. announced on April 15 that the company will be making arrangements to make Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Bilevel or two-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines available to Canadian healthcare institutions should they be approved for use as alternative ventilators by Canadian authorities.

The announcement comes after the FDA issued a letter encouraging American healthcare institutions to consider alternative ventilators, including CPAP and BiPAP machines, should ventilator supply run low during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SleepWorks Medical provides CPAP machines as ventilator alternatives


PHOTO: Tilley

As Canadian manufacturers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by ramping up production of needed medical garments and devices, Tilley joins the fight at its Toronto plant to produce gowns and masks for hospital workers.

The manufacturer, best known for its iconic Tilley hats and travel clothing, worked with a local hospital group to approve patterns for the masks and gowns to ensure proper fit. These garments will go to hospital workers at local hospitals and long-term care facilities who are not dealing with patients, to save the medical grade personal protection garments for front line workers.

Tilley joins the fight against COVID-19 making gowns and masks

Spartan Bioscience

Rapid COVID-19 testing devices are on the way to remote and Indigenous communities where access and timely results have been hindered by distance and limited resources, officials said April 13 after a new test kit was approved over the weekend.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said the hand-held DNA analyzer from Ottawa’s Spartan Bioscience will offer rapid test results for health services in rural and remote areas that otherwise must send their samples to laboratories in larger centres.

Dubbed the Spartan Cube and about the size of a coffee cup, results can be had in less than an hour and do not require the specialized expertise and equipment of a large lab.

Spartan Bioscience said devices began rolling out April 13 to Public Health Ontario and Ottawa’s National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, because the Ontario and federal governments were the first clients.

Health Canada approves Spartan Bioscience’s portable COVID-19 test


CKF Face Shield. PHOTO: CKF Inc.

On April 14, CKF Inc., a Canadian-owned manufacturer of moulded pulp, foam and recycled PET plastic (rPET) products for retail, food service and packaging, launched a newly developed face shield to help protect front line medical workers and essential services.

Best known for manufacturing the Royal Chinet brand, CKF designed the face shields from rPET.

The face shields can be assembled in 60 seconds and will be available from CKF’s Delta, B.C., and Rexdale, Ont., locations.

CKF launches face shields in support of fight against COVID-19

ATS Automation

PHOTO: ATS Automation

Cambridge, Ontario’s ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. is harnessing its specialized life sciences capabilities to fast-track the production of medical equipment to address the COVID-19 healthcare crisis.

The automation systems manufacturer is working to produce filtering facepiece respirators, ventilator components, automated bio-decontamination system, COVID-19 test kits and hygiene product filling.

ATS Automation addresses COVID-19 medical device shortage

CCM Hockey

Full head protective hood prototype developed by a joint task force combining surgeon Dr. René Caissie, CCM Hockey, and Industrie Orkan. PHOTO: CCM

Responding to the need in Quebec for protective equipment for those on the front line dealing with the COVID-19 virus, surgeon and inventor Dr. René Caissie of the Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal, Dorma Labs and DentalCorp; CCM Hockey, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of hockey equipment; and Industrie Orkan, a Canadian supplier of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) handling systems, have designed and are ready to produce a full-head protective hood for healthcare workers.

The hood completely encloses the user’s head and is powered by an air-purifying respirator (PAPR). This device defends against multiple hazards by combining respiratory, head, eye and face protection, guarding against aerosolized and airborne particulates.

Once approved by health authorities, CCM Hockey will produce up to 150 units per day for as long as supply and market conditions allow.

Collaboration creates full-head protective hood for healthcare workers


Apotex Pharmachem manufactured bottles of hand sanitizer to help in the battle against COVID-19. PHOTO: Apotex Inc.

Apotex Pharmachem, Canada’s largest producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients, is producing hand sanitizer in support of frontline workers who are battling the COVID-19 virus.

A division of the Toronto-based pharma manufacturer Apotex Inc., the facility located in Brantford, Ont., produced an initial run of 500 one-litre bottles of sanitizer which were donated locally to Brant County to be distributed among local community agencies and healthcare facilities.

The company says it will produce an additional 1,200 litres of sanitizer in the coming weeks to be further distributed within the City of Brantford, Brant County and Six Nations.

Apotex Pharmachem produces hand sanitizer


Canadian Shield founder and CEO Jeremy Hedges in the new plant space. PHOTO: Canadian Shield

InkSmith, a manufacturer of educational tools such as the k8 robotics kit used for teaching coding and computational thinking, has been making face shields using 3D printing and laser cutting technology at a 10,000 square-foot facility in Kitchener.

The demands of the COVID-19 crisis prompted it to spin off a second company. Called The Canadian Shield, it will expand efforts to meet the needs of Ontario hospitals by dramatically exceeding its current daily capacity of 50,000 shields.

Growing demand means more hiring and a second, 50,000 square-foot plant in Kitchener.

Kitchener manufacturer expanding fast to meet face shield demand


Ontario Power Generation’s 3D printers producing face shields to protect health-care workers. PHOTO: Ontario Power Generation Inc.

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) is utilizing 3D printing technology to produce plastic face shields to address the pressing need for personal protective equipment.

The utility has partnered with Ontario Tech University in Oshawa to fast-track the production of the face shields.

The first batch of 200 face shields is expected to be ready for shipment to Ontario’s Ministry of Health on April 8, with a plan to increase production of the shields to 500 per week.

OPG’s 3D printers producing face shields to protect health-care workers

Tempur Sealy Canada

Tempur Sealy Canada pivots production to help support Mack Media Inc. in providing critical supplies for Ontario’s frontline health workers. PHOTO: Tempur Sealy Canada

Mattress manufacturer Tempur Sealy Canada has repurposed part of its manufacturing to contribute to the supply of protective face shields.

The initiative is a joint effort with printing firm Mack Media Inc.

Tempur Sealy Canada pivots production to support frontline workers

Thornhill Medical

Joe Fisher, Thornhill Medical’s co-founder and chief scientific officer, inspecting the firm’s MOVES SLC mobile ICU system. PHOTO: Moe Doiron/Thornhill Medical.

Toronto-based medical equipment manufacturer Thornhill Medical has agreed to produce and deliver 1,020 mobile intensive care systems as part of the federal government’s response to fight COVID-19. Ontario has a contract for 40 more of its own units.

The MOVES SLC intensive care unit (ICU), comes equipped with a ventilator, but the system also has an oxygen concentrator, suction — for removal of fluids, tissue, and gases — and it provides vital signs monitoring. All of these functions can be powered by a battery, and the unit and battery only weigh about 40 pounds.

Toronto firm’s portable life support units could supplement ICU beds

Thornhill Medical ventilator production increased tenfold to meet demand

Thornhill Medical to deliver 500 mobile ventilator systems

General Motors

GM and medical firm Ventec Life Systems have joined forces.

The firms are collaborating to enable Ventec to increase production of its respiratory care products. GM says Ventec will leverage its logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to build more ventilators.

“With GM’s help, Ventec will increase ventilator production,” said Chris Kiple, Ventec Life Systems CEO, in a prepared statement. “By tapping their expertise, GM is enabling us to get more ventilators to more hospitals much faster. This partnership will help save lives.”

Trump uses wartime act but GM says it’s moving fast

Fiat Chrysler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) will be manufacturing and donating more than 1 million protective face masks per month to help those at the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company will start manufacturing face masks in the coming weeks with initial distribution across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

FCA to produce face masks for first responders and health care workers


The COVID-19-(SARS-CoV-2-) rapid testing kit for the Vivalytic platform developed by Bosch delivers reliable results at the point of care in less than 2.5 hours, according to the firm.

Bosch Healthcare Solutions is working on the development of a COVID-19 rapid testing kit which will launch this April 2020.

The Vivalytic VRI test (viral respiratory tract infections) checks the patient’s sample for the SARS CoV-2 virus, which can lead to COVID-19, as well as nine other possible viral respiratory diseases.

Bosch developing COVID-19 rapid testing kit

Canada Goose

Canada Goose is pitching in to alleviate the shortage of medical supplies needed for the COVID-19 fight with the donation of medical gear to hospitals.

The manufacturer of premium winter garments is producing scrubs and patient gowns for frontline health workers at two plants, in Toronto and Winnipeg. It will begin to reopen its other Canadian facilities to bring all eight of its locations into production.

Approximately 150 employees are currently producing equipment in Toronto and Winnipeg. The company said as many as 900 employees will be working when it reaches full capacity.

Canada Goose plans to produce at least 60,000 gowns per week, with plans to deliver up to 1.5 million, at cost.

Canada Goose increasing production of medical gear

Canada Goose making gowns and scrubs for the coronavirus fight


PHOTO: BAUER Hockey/Twitter @BauerHockey

Canadian hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer says it has received government authorization to produce protective gear for medical staff and first responders.

The company says it has modified its production line to make full-face, single-use visors.

Hockey gear manufacturer Bauer gets green light to make visors for medical staff


Fanatics said on Twitter: “We’re utilizing our manufacturing plant in Easton, PA to make masks and gowns out of the same jersey fabric that the players wear.” PHOTO: Fanatics/Twitter @Fanatics

The Bryce Harper jersey that could have been worn this baseball season by the biggest Philadelphia Phillies fan is now a protective mask in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Fanatics, the company that manufactures uniforms for Major League Baseball, has suspended production on jerseys and is instead using the polyester mesh fabric to make masks and gowns for hospitals in Pennsylvania and nearby states.

MLB uniform maker switches to producing medical masks, gowns


Labatt Breweries of Canada is in the process of shifting production from beer to hand sanitizer across the country in support of the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. PHOTO: Labatt Breweries of Canada

Labatt Breweries of Canada is in the process of shifting production from beer to hand sanitizer across the country in support of the national effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Initial production will result in 50,000 bottles of hand sanitizer that will be donated to support Food Banks Canada, front line workers and partners in the restaurant and bar industry.

Labatt shifts production to hand sanitizer to fight spread of COVID-19

Q&A: Charlie Angelakos, Labatt Breweries of Canada

Corby Spirit and Wine

Spirits manufacturer Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. and its Walkerville Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery in Windsor, Ont. announced on March 19 that they will be producing hand sanitizer.

The distillery, producer of J.P.Wiser’s Canadian whisky, typically distills 180,000 litres of alcohol every day, but will be adding hand sanitizer to its production line.

Hiram Walker & Sons Distillery produces hand sanitizer to fight spread of COVID-19


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