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Coronavirus: Genie produces protective gear for healthcare personnel

Terex powered access arm develops PPE equipment solutions for local hospitals in state of Washington

Powered access major Genie has deployed a team in its facilities in the US to make personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel and first responders in a bid to contribute to the fight against Covid-19.

In a statement, the Terex-owned powered access and telehandler brand said as communities, states, and countries around the globe continue to address the health crisis created by Covid-19, PPE for medical personnel and first responders remains in high demand. To help address this need in their community, team members from Genie have been working on a concept that will allow them to produce medical equipment for hospitals in Washington, the US state where the company is headquartered.

The effort began with a face shield design developed by Jim Donaldson, Genie engineering design manager, Terex AWP. “After watching a video about the types of medical equipment our hospitals needed, I thought we would be able to make the face shields that go over the N95 masks. I went to the store and bought a sponge, bungee cord and a poster that came packaged in a plastic tube. I cut up the tube to make the shield, and then I attached the sponges and bungee cord.”

Donaldson shared his idea with Matt Fearon Genie president, Terex AWP, who agreed it was a concept worth exploring. Working with team members from project management, engineering and sourcing, the initial design was refined, and long-time supplier, Allegis Corporation, stepped in to source the materials necessary, even developing a custom tool to stamp out the shield shape.

“Our supplier really helped with moving this project forward — and moving it forward so quickly,” Donaldson said.

With the design updated, Fearon, Donaldson and a small team of engineers and project managers then met with representatives from nearby Overlake Medical Center to gain a better understanding of the hospital’s needs, feedback on the face shield design, as well as to determine if there were any other ways the Genie team could help.

As a result of that meeting, the Genie team began production of the face shields last week. The material the team has on hand should be enough to produce an initial 4,000 to 5,000 face shields, with availability of materials and the further need for PPE deciding whether the Genie team will produce more.

In addition to the face shields, the Genie team developed a process for manufacturing face coverings using material provided by hospitals and a heat-sealing process to create seams and pleats. “Finding the material to create the bands that go over the ears was actually a real challenge due to the high demand,” said Roger Bowie, Terex business systems manager. “But the team thought through that problem until they had a solution, identifying a way to use material that was readily available to make fabric strips that could be used for ties.”

Additionally, Genie engineers have used the company’s 3D printing capabilities to make some custom parts, which allowed critical hospital PPE to be put back into service quickly.

“Our Genie team was anxious to help,” said Fearon. “I am proud of, but not surprised by, the initiative and innovation of our team members. They heard about a critical need, and they didn’t hesitate to step up to the challenge — they focused on finding solutions, and they acted quickly because they knew the need was urgent. Our team in China jumped in by air shipping 1,000 N95 masks at a time when there was a severe shortage of masks in the US. These are unprecedented times and overcoming the challenges we face locally, and globally, will require everyone to do what they can to help. I am excited that we have found such meaningful ways to help our local community and could not be prouder to lead this team in good times and in challenging times.”

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