Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in the United States, Danielle Cornell saw a Facebook picture of a friend dressed in personal protective gear for her job as a medical worker at WVU Medical Center.
Her friend, she noticed, was wearing a face shield, which were in demand but difficult to procure.
“I asked if they needed these, and she said, ‘Yes,’ so I said, ‘Can you send me one? I think we can make these,’” recalled Cornell, Director of Logistics and International Sales at AccuTrex Products Inc.
It turned out that the company could, so they turned out 50 face shields and donated them to the medical center.
The veteran-owned manufacturing business, which makes, among other things, a variety of gaskets, shims, brackets and fasteners, decided to pivot its production operations to develop face shields as a means to help the company weather the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Dennis Davin, Secretary of the Department of Community and Economic Development, toured the AccuTrex plant in Arden, across from the Washington County fairgrounds.
AccuTrex now develops face shields in response to the critical need for personal protective equipment that has resulted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Operating Officer Mark Beichner led Davin on a tour of the company’s Washington County plant, where the face shields are manufactured, and shared the story about how AccuTrex shifted its production to include PPE.
“Initially we were just making the shields to donate, and then we began assembling,” said Beichner. “We saw an opportunity to do a couple things. Number one, it gives our people a great cause to get behind. Number two, it allows us to help with the PPE shortage. And three, it allows us to keep our people working and try to subsidize some of the loss in business.”
AccuTrex is listed on DCED’s Business-2-Business Interchange Directory, which was created by the department to connect organizations and businesses directly to manufacturers producing COVID-19-related products and supplies. It is among the web applications developed by the Wolf administration to serve critical supply needs for Pennsylvania.
“Thanks. It’s a great thing you’re doing,” said Davin. “Some businesses have actually made a pivot to making PPE and are continuing to do it. That might be a line they want to continue on, make it a part of their business plan.”
Beichner said AccuTrex received an order on Wednesday for 200 face shields from Robert Morris University.
“They can’t find them anywhere,” said Beichner. “We’re making them for a plethora of other people online who order them. We can make them for anybody who needs to protect their workforce. The market is endless as to who wants them.”
The company has the capacity to produce 8,000 to 10,000 face shields a day, when using all of its resources. The shields are comprised of a head band, elastic band and an anti-fog, scratch-resistant shield. They can be reused.
AccuTrex is working on a child-sized version.