Though these products are now a part of our current culture, the Primex story of how they created and manufactured these products is anything but common. According to Business Unit Director Doug Borgsdorf, “the Primex team stepped up in an extraordinary way to get these products to the heroes in our nation who needed them ‘yesterday’.” “Overnight, in April, we designed our first prototype face shield in response to a call from Reid Health in Richmond and started production in less than a week. Our design and production team is simply remarkable in their dedication to this need.” And the Primex team has been working 12-hour shifts, three shifts per day every day since, to keep up with demand for the face shields and other PPE and social distancing products.
Shortly after the face shields began to ship, Primex realized they needed to increase manufacturing capacity, so they immediately engaged three other Richmond companies, B & F Plastics, Ahaus Tool, and Hoosier Container, to help with production and shipping of the 30-thousand face shields per day they are now delivering. As an example, Hoosier produced 35-thousand shipping boxes for Primex in two days. Additionally, Primex involved some competitors including Barber Packaging of Bangor, Michigan and Special Design Products of Columbus, Ohio in the business.
“We’ve increased our own workforce from 73 to 90 during this period and we’re helping our partners in this venture avoid the layoffs that many manufacturers are experiencing during the pandemic,” said Borgsdorf. Barber’s Luke Barber agrees. “Since we were heavily dependent on the automotive industry, we took a big hit when the pandemic started. But the business we got from Primex allowed us to keep our workforce busy and even now has helped us get some non-automotive jobs.” Between die cutting, assembly and shipping, the five companies are helping PD&F meet the extraordinary demand for the PrimexProtect products. All together there are nearly 200 workers involved in the effort.
The face shields were just the beginning. Since April, Primex Design’s PrimexProtect line has expanded to include social distancing barriers, golf cart dividers, signage, retail barriers, and medical waste containers, all made in the U.S.A. “Our people are constantly asking what they can do to help. It has been a remarkable journey and we’re immensely proud of the way our employees and partners are responding,” said Borgsdorf.