Piper Aircraft joins national effort to manufacture protective gear
Joining in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, workers at Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach switched from building aircraft to creating face shields for use by medical personnel.
More accustomed to building single- and twin-engine airplanes, Piper Aircraft Inc. in Vero Beach switched gears during the coronavirus pandemic to produce protective gear to help support the needs of Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital.
Additionally, Piper donated more than 1,300 N95 masks manufactured by 3M to the hospital.
Spokeswoman Jacqueline Carlon said the N95 masks were part of Piper’s surplus supply accumulated as Piper shifted to R95 masks, which are more commonly used in manufacturing.
Piper had been exploring ways it could help the local medical community deal with the shortage of personal protective equipment.
The company’s manufacturing engineering team then designed a prototype face shield with off-the shelf materials such as: plastic, industrial tape, foam and elastic. With approval of the prototype, the team set out to source the necessary materials from wholesale suppliers and create a manufacturing line within the Piper factory.
Piper’s manufacturing engineering team designed a prototype of a face shield utilizing off-the-shelf materials, but then had to source the necessary materials from wholesale suppliers to set up its production line.
Safety equipment made by Piper Aircraft to help medical personnel during the coronavirus pandemic is ready for shipment.
With a designated production area in place, the team began making face shields for use by medical personnel. Given the current supply of materials and labor, Piper has the ability to produce thousands of face shields daily to help support the current demand, which by April 6 had reached 75,000 shields.
“This is a critical time for our community, our country and the world. It is a time for action, cooperation and collaboration,’’ said James Funk, Piper’s chief operating officer. “As a team, we can make a difference for people in need and directly support those fighting the battle on the front lines of this unprecedented crisis. This is just one small way that we are trying to help. We want health-care providers, especially, and patients to be safe. Therefore, it’s vital that we all pull together to help our community weather this crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever.”
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