By Deb Malewski
— Back during World War II, Henry Ford was able to convert his auto assembly lines into the production of military vehicles for the war effort. This kind of special effort still rings true today through the efforts of local businesses, as some are pitching in to do what they can to help their communities during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Brothers Nathan and Aaron Shaver own a custom kitchen and cabinet design shop, Grant DesignYard, located at 180 W. McClure in Charlotte. A family run business since 2013, they produce cabinetry, countertops and furniture for both residential and commercial uses. Their custom handmade furniture is made using fine woods.
With the COVID-19 pandemic preventing much of their regular work, the brothers have temporarily stepped away from the cabinetry and moved into creating Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in the form of face shields. These shields have gone to the Eaton County Sheriff Department, the Charlotte Police Department and other Eaton County first responders.
“We have worked with the healthcare industry for many years,” Aaron Shaver said. “We are excited that we could quickly retool and make products that help protect our loved ones, our clients and the public.”
The brothers wanted to do something to help keep local first responders safe from the virus. Nathan initially designed the face shields to keep their own employees working and to fill the demand from some of their customers. These masks are a medical-grade, reusable and sanitizable plastic face shield.
Grant DesignYard can produce about 1,000 per 12-hour shift. The masks are machined on computer numerical control machine (CNC) equipment — a high-precision tool that’s computer-controlled and makes repeated, accurate movements using high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic and acetate — and other machines idled by the pandemic. The masks are shipping all over the United States to health systems and first responders.
With CNC machining, they are able to run 24 hours per day and produce about 2,000 face shields each day. The CNC is much faster than a 3D printer, Shaver explained.
They have also provided shields to various hospitals in the area, such as Eaton Rapids Medical Center (ERMC), McLaren and Baptist Health. They’ve also sent shields to the Michigan Association of Funeral Directors and first responders across the Midwest. They currently only charge to cover the cost of producing the masks and also make certain donations.
Loni Thomas, RN, who serves as director of patient services at ERMC, said the shields are a great product.
“Nate Shaver approached us with this wonderful solution to the PPE shortage,” Thomas said. “It is an innovative design using non-traditional, reusable materials.
“We appreciate his fair prices during a time when many businesses are price-gouging.”
Shaver said it takes about 45 seconds to produce a mask and package it. Approximately 10,000 masks have been created so far and, as orders come in, production will be increased to 24 hours a day, six days a week, to meet the demand.
More information can be found at grantdesignyard.com or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo info: Nathan Shaver is shown with the face shield his company is producing.