Genie is producing face shields and other medical equipment in its facility in Redmond, Washington, to support local hospitals fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company plans to produce 4,000 to 5,000 of the shields for Overlake Medical Center using material donated by one of its suppliers, Allegis Corp.
Jim Donaldson, Genie engineering design manager designed the face shield.
“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,” he said in a prepared statement. “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 worked with team members from project management, engineering, and sourcing to refine the design. In addition to donating the materials, Allegis developed 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, Genie officials and a small team of engineers and project managers met with representatives from 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.
In addition to the face shields, the Genie team developed a process for manufacturing face coverings using material provided by the hospital 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.”
Bowie said the team expects to produce one face covering every minute.
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, the Overlake team pointed us in the direction of the highest need and together, we made great things happen,” said Matt Fearon, Genie president, in a statement.
“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 U.S.”