Wepco Plastics Exceeds Target Goal for Face Shield Production
(Hartford, CT, June 4, 2020) – In early April of this year, state officials reached out to Connecticut manufacturers seeking help in producing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers and first responders.
Wepco Plastics, a family owned company specializing in plastic injection molding, tooling, and 3D printing, has always had a core mission to support the community. They immediately reviewed their capabilities on how best to meet the state’s PPE needs and determined they could pivot part of their business to making plastic face shields.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Wepco did not produce face shields but did make medical components, such as parts for ventilators and hospital beds, essential to many medical manufacturers.
“Within 36 hours of the state’s PPE request, Wepco had placed a purchase order for materials to begin making face shields,” according to Amanda Wiriya, Manufacturing Support Manager. In a matter of days, six assemblers were producing an average of 4,000 units per day. Not satisfied, Wepco wanted to make more to help more.
CONNSTEP, Inc., Connecticut’s Manufacturing Extension Partner (MEP) and a leading consulting firm, collaborated with the leadership team at Wepco Plastics to work with them to meet their face shield production goal.
Working remotely with each other through conference calls and video demonstrations, CONNSTEP helped streamline Wepco’s face shield assembly line by applying a 5 Step Cellular Design methodology. This is a process that organizes manual and machine operations in the most efficient combination to maximize value-added production and minimize waste.
With a new cellular design flow in place, and working with a competitor to die-cut foam in order to help facilitate the process, Wepco exceeded their target of producing 5400 face shields per day and is now averaging 7000 face shields per day with the same number of assemblers. The company’s next goal is to begin manufacturing face masks.