The Exeter New Hampshire-based hockey gear company Bauer is joining other manufacturers and universities in a push to make protective gear for medical staff and first responders.
Bauer's factory, located outside of Montreal, usually makes skates for professional hockey players. But in late March, it began designing plastic face shields meant to give people wearing masks an extra layer of protection from the coronavirus.
Bauer’s sister company in Liverpool, New York, typically manufactures lacrosse equipment. Now it is also making face shields.
Dan Bourgeois, vice president of production innovation at Bauer, says they got the idea after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked manufacturers to start making protective gear in light of dangerously low supplies.
It didn’t take long to turn the idea into reality.
“In seven days we got everything done, everything ready and set up - gears, machinery assembly - to make us ready to go,” he says. “And since then our volume keeps going up.”
With orders coming in from police, governments, and facilities in both Canada and the U.S., Bauer shared its prototype so other manufacturers could keep up with the demand.
Bourgeois says the Canadian factory is currently making about 20,000 shields a day and aims to reach a production rate of 200,000 shields a day in the coming weeks.