RICHMOND, Ind—Primex Design & Fabrication (PD&F) has been working since April to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, producing its PrimexProtect™ line of personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing products for medical personnel, first responders, and others. Though these products are now a part of its current culture, the story of how Primex created and manufactured these products is anything but ordinary, according to Primex 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,’” said Borgsdorf in a company release. “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.”

Primex Design & Fabrication manufactures reusable, returnable, and recyclable plastic shipping containers, custom interior dunnage, protective packaging, and point-of-purchase displays. The company also produces retail packaging and automotive components. Since April, the Primex team has been working 12-hour shifts, three shifts per day to keep up with demand for face shields and other PPE and social distancing products.

Shortly after the face shields began to ship, Primex realized it needed to increase manufacturing capacity. The company immediately engaged three other Richmond companies—B & F Plastics, Ahaus Tool, and Hoosier Container—to help with production and shipping of the 30,000 face shields per day that Primex is now delivering. Hoosier produced 35,000 shipping boxes for Primex in two days. Primex also 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 to avoid the layoffs that many manufacturers are experiencing during the pandemic,” said Borgsdorf.

Barber’s Luke Barber agreed.

“Since we were heavily dependent on the automotive industry, we took a big hit when the pandemic started,” Barber said in the release. “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.”

By contributing die cutting, assembly, and shipping, the five companies are helping PD&F meet the extraordinary demand for the PrimexProtect products. Nearly 200 workers are involved in the effort, Primex said in the release.

The face shields were just the beginning. Since April, PD&F has expanded its PrimexProtect line to include social distancing barriers, golf cart dividers, signage, retail barriers, and medical waste containers, all proudly made in the U.S.A.

“Our people are constantly asking what they can do to help,” said Borgsdorf. “It has been a remarkable journey, and we’re immensely proud of the way our employees and partners are responding.”

Primex Design & Fabrication (www.primexfabrication.com) offers a full production life cycle, from raw materials and design, through prototyping and recycling.

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