MASON CITY, Iowa - As nurses and healthcare workers are working around the clock during the coronavirus pandemic, masks and other personal protective equipment is becoming increasingly hard to find. Now, a North Iowa company is stepping up and changing that.
Typically, Metalcraft produces labels, barcodes and tags for tracking. The company is now shifting its focus, making shields.
"Kyle [Bermel] emailed me the design for the headband. And he said, 'can we get a prototype today?'"
Tyler Bartholomew is a technician. He's hard at work improving the ability to crank out headbands and shields.
"To be able to help like this and be able to provide something that's really hard to find, where we can actually make them, is really cool."
COO Kyle Bermel knows it's crucial to help those on the frontlines fighting COVID-19, but also to keep Metalcraft workers on the job.
"I was going down the respirator route because we're a materials company as well, and he was like, 'why don't we look at shields?'"
A 3-D printer and a presser are making it all possible.
"We have a 3-D printer that can do about 10 halo portions of that shield a day. We're looking at giving those away and donating those."
The company has already been receiving requests from hospitals and individual emergency workers who are on the frontlines battling this crisis, including the staff at MercyOne.
"We're working with the state on a large project that would help multiple hospitals. that's the real big one, the high volume job we have going. We're looking at partnering with other companies in Iowa to get those assembled and put together."
As someone who has family in the medical field, Bermel says being able to give back is near and dear to his heart.
"The whole Metalcraft family is thinking of them. We appreciate all that the frontline people are doing."
Employees will begin producing the shields next week.
Also, hockey manufacturing company Bauer is switching from making helmets and skates, to shields for doctors, nurses and first responders.