BROKEN ARROW, Okla.—Rapid Application Group (RAG) reported that it collaborated with FlightSafety International and Newton Design to deliver thousands of critical personal protection equipment (PPE) devices to local first responders and healthcare teams in Oklahoma. The three companies teamed together in mid-March, pivoting rapidly from their usual aerospace production work to start producing face shields and masks via additive manufacturing, RAG said in a press release.
The RAG team worked with healthcare providers and the U.S. FDA to create approved designs within three weeks. The three companies then began producing face shields and masks, using additive manufacturing with Class VI materials. Producing hundreds of parts per day, the companies have produced and delivered more than 5,000 parts, with thousands of orders yet to fulfill, RAG said.
“Terry, Jason, and the team at RAG truly exemplify the Oklahoma Standard,” said Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Sean Kouplen, in the release. “Their desire and ability to quickly adapt their business model so they could help our health care workers and citizens of Oklahoma is remarkable. When you put your company and livelihood on the line to help save lives, you are a real hero in my book.”
FlightSafety International, a manufacturer of critical flight simulation systems, stepped up to the challenge from its Tulsa plant by offering additional additive manufacturing platforms to help the effort.
“We felt we had to assist what the team at Rapid Application Group had started,” said Mike Halsey, director of manufacturing and material management, at the FlightSafety’s Simulation facility in Broken Arrow. “This is a crisis like no other, and we realized that Oklahoma’s manufacturers were ideally positioned to help.”
Newton Design, also a supplier of flight simulation and training systems, also volunteered when it heard what the RAG team was doing. The company donated the use of its SLS additive systems, quickly verified the machines and materials, and started production of the PPE devices.
“When we heard the call, we felt we had to respond,” said Jeff Newton, president of Newton Design. “The work between the three teams has been remarkable in its ability to rapidly produce PPE devices that are [desperately needed].”
As the teams step forward with 24/7 production using additive manufacturing, they are also preparing tooling for increased production through injection molding.
“Additive is perfect for rapid production without having to wait for tooling,” commented Jason Dickman, COO, Rapid Application Group. “But we are going to use all the tools and production technologies available to us to make sure the need is met.”
As the team ramped up, it was also assisted by companies such as EOS, an additive manufacturing vendor, which donated critical materials for the teams to use.
“We really couldn’t have [gotten] to the production phase so quickly without the help of these incredible companies,” said Terry Hill, CEO, Rapid Application Group. “We are all doing 24/7 production to fill the need and protect our healthcare and first responder teams, and will continue until the work is done.”
Healthcare and first responders can find out more about obtaining the PPE devices here:
Rapid Application Group LLC is a HUBZone and Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Business, and is a member of America Makes. The company maintains certifications for, and compliance with, AS9100D, ISO 9001, ITAR, HUBZone, and SDVOSB.