INDIANAPOLIS — As health care facilities and emergency responders search for more personal protective equipment to keep workers on the front lines safe during the coronavirus pandemic, a local business is doing its part to help meet that need.
Fleece Performance Engineering is a family-owned company in Pittsboro known for manufacturing automotive aftermarket parts for diesel cars and trucks.
The business started as a hobby between two brothers in a pole barn out in a cornfield, and today their products are distributed nationwide.
So when they saw states shutting down due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they knew some parts of their business would be considered essential to the automotive industry.
But they also have a large engineering and warehouse staff — and a 75,000-square foot space at their disposal.
So the Indiana company that employs about 50 workers got to work to help create face shields for health care workers.
President and co-owner Brayden Fleece said they grabbed material, threw it on their laser cutter and designed a face shield that was then tested at Hendricks Regional Hospital. After good feedback, they sent the hospital 600 more. And now they are sending PPE across the United States.
"Yeah, I mean the desire to do something that's kind of natural instinct, to want to be able to help, and you know, utilize our employees and our resources. My wife is a nurse. My sister, our sister, is a nurse. We're agile as a small business, just agile enough to be able to make decisions, and we re-purposed an area of the floor space to do this and within 48 hours we designed, tested, curated, filed for a patent and shipped 600 units," Fleece said.
By end of last week, Fleece was manufacturing 150-200 face shields per hour.
They expect to soon make up to 10,000 on one shift using one tool.
They are looking at bringing another tool online and plan to make hundreds of thousands of available by the end of next week.
If you or your workplace is in need of face shields, you can contact Fleece Performance directly by or by sending an email to email@example.com.