Montreal manufacturers modify production to make medical supplies

Several local manufactures have retooled their set-up in order to help meet the demand for medical supplies such as protective gear and hand sanitizer.

Several local manufactures have retooled their production lines in order to help meet the demand for medical supplies such as protective gear and hand sanitizer. Desperately needed medical visors just came out of production at E2ip Technologies in Lachine on Monday. According to the Montreal Gazette, they are ready to be delivered to front line workers fighting against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a plan on Monday to encourage Canadian companies to ramp up the production of medical supplies that are necessary for contending with the pandemic.

“We repurposed one of our production lines,” said CEO Eric Saint-Jacques. “These are full-face visors that protect from any splatter or transmission of the virus."

Headquartered in St. Laurent, E2ip specializes in touch controls for a wide range of uses such as hospital beds, small screens, airplane entertainment screens and keypads at gas pumps. Currently, the company is producing 1,000 visors a day by utilizing materials that they already had on hand.

E2ip has 275 employees in Montreal and another 225 in Minnesota and Morocco, so their ability to bring production of masks up to several thousand is available, said Saint-Jacques.

“The demand is growing like crazy,” he said. “The orders have been coming in with 6,000 to 10,000 units per order.” Public health authorities in Montreal have already placed orders.

The visors are now being sold at low cost to health-care providers both locally in Montreal and throughout Canada and the US.

St-Laurent is a hub for manufacturing, the town has almost 5,000 companies that employ over 115,000 people — about a third of which are in manufacturing. Companies have quickly reconfigured their operations to rise up to the challenge, said borough mayor Alan DeSousa.

“I’m very, very proud as mayor that these companies are stepping up to the plate,” he said.

L’Oreal Canada has two plants in St-Laurent that are now producing hand sanitizer which will be distributed at no cost to health care workers and hospitals. The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM) are among those who will be supplied freely, said Frank Kollmar, CEO and president of L'Oreal Canada.

The ingredients were already available, it was just a matter of acquiring the containers with pumps, he said.

L'Oreal has 1,500 employees throughout Canada and the company has continued to operate despite the fact that a large part of its business was providing supplies to hair salons and spas, which have since been forced to close for the duration of the pandemic. L'Oreal's response to this is to aide those small businesses by freezing all amounts currently owed and to provide support measures when business resumes, said Kollmar.

Bauer, the hockey equipment producer will also modify its production lines in both Quebec and New York to help fill the need for protective equipment.

Bauer has secured a deal with the government of Quebec to supply 300,000 protective visors on Sunday, which will be manufactured out of their Blainville factory starting next week.