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Oakland County Manufacturers Receive Grants to Make PPE Gear

Six Oakland County manufacturers will share more than $344,000 in “Saving Business, Saving Lives” grants to make needed personal protective equipment and ventilator components used in the fight against COVID-19, according to a press release.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter announced the awards, which come from a $700,000 fund to incentivize Oakland County manufacturers who can shift production to personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns and face shields or medical device components.

The companies receiving grants are:

• Oxus America of Auburn Hills. Oxus is an engineering, manufacturing, and service company specializing in medical devices and gas separation technology. It is now manufacturing critical ventilator repair parts.

• Connexion, doing business in Pontiac as Tangico. It manufactures award-winning custom promotional products. It is transitioning to the manufacture of face shield parts.

• PolyFlex Products Co. of Farmington Hills. The company provides design, prototype, tooling and manufacturing services. The company will manufacture high volumes of face shields.

• SignaRama of Troy supplies a wide range of custom-made signs, banners and decals for buildings, vehicles and more. SignaRama transformed to the manufacture of face shields.

Acme Mills of Bloomfield Hills has operated as a privately owned provider of industrial textiles and textile solutions. Acme has transitioned to produce face masks, gowns and hair covers.

• RPB Safety of Royal Oak manufactures respirators, air monitoring, filtration and essential safety equipment for the industrial market. The company transformed to the production of respirators and HEPA filters for the medical market.

Last month, Vaughn Custom Sports and Detroit Sewn were awarded grants to make gowns and face masks. Sixty companies applied for funding and each proposal was reviewed by a panel. No new applications are being accepted. The 60 companies which initially applied are being considered for the remaining $280,700 in the fund.

Battelle decontamination device to allow for reuse of N95 respirators
Used N95 respirators can be delivered to Battelle Labs’ decontamination device located at the TCF Center in Detroit. The device can decontaminate N95 respirators for reuse up to 20 times and the service is available, free of charge, for health systems, first responders and nursing homes.

The device at TCF Center is among the 60 decontamination devices that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) procured from Battelle Labs, an Ohio-based company. The device includes four decontamination units and is approved to process N95 respirators using concentrated, vapor phase hydrogen peroxide.

Battelle’s decontamination process has been granted an emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has shown up to 99.99999 percent effective sterilization of N95s. Through its contract with the state, Battelle is providing staff to operate the device.

Facilities will be able to ship N95 respirators to TCF for decontamination. Once the masks are sterilized, the respirators will be shipped back.

— Compiled by Kathy Blake, MediaNews Group

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