Manufacturing a solution
#CStateChampions | Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Columbus State empowers Ohio’s manufacturers through COVID-19 and beyond
(Above) The Manufacturing Extension Partnership at Columbus State is working with custom mascot producer Costume Specialists to convert its business model to protective mask production.
As the State of Ohio mounts a collective response to slow the spread of coronavirus, Columbus State is empowering manufacturers and their employees to repurpose and reskill to meet immediate demand for supplies.
The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at Columbus State is a full-service solutions provider partnering with Central Ohio manufacturers to grow their business. MEP has responded quickly to the current crisis by helping manufacturers shift to producing personal protective equipment (PPE).
Alliance to Fight COVID-19
MEP at Columbus State is a proud member of Gov. Mike DeWine’s newly formed Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19. Announced April 1, the alliance is a collaborative public-private partnership that will coordinate efforts to provide healthcare workers and first responders with personal protective equipment (PPE).
Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Ohio Hospital Association, Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership, nursing home organizations, JobsOhio, Ohio Department of Administrative Services, Ohio Development Services Agency, and the Ohio Department of Health are all part of the alliance.
MEP at Columbus State is helping identify manufacturers, source materials, analyze plans, develop and re-engineer processes and equipment, and retrain employees to produce needed Personal Protective Equipment, including plastic face shields and masks.
For example, MEP at Columbus State is working to assess Ohio manufacturers’ capabilities and processes for creating face shields. The Ohio MEP — the organization that manages the network of regional MEP affiliates — procured a large amount of the raw material needed on the behalf of the state. In order to produce the face shields, Columbus State is exploring the use of injection molding. Mark Gerko, Chair of Engineering and Transport Technologies at Columbus State, is exploring the possibility of using the College’s dormant machining lab to make a mold that manufacturers can start using immediately to produce the face shields.
“At Columbus State, helping our community is a part of our DNA,” says Jeff Spain, director of MEP at Columbus State. “I’m proud to be a member of a team that stepped up to make a difference and ensure a strong future for Central Ohio.”
Manufacturers are also stepping up to help produce and supply face masks. One of the MEP’s clients, Costume Specialists, has temporarily shifted its business model from custom mascot production to making non-surgical fabric masks to help supply companies with Center for Disease Control-recommended protective gear for their employees. MEP is helping the manufacturer source materials and strengthen its supply chain during this transition. Local public organizations, like COTA, have reached out to Columbus State to help identify needed items to keep them operational and safe – and Costume Specialists has secured the COTA contract to provide masks for public-facing employees as well as mechanics and maintenance professionals who need them for job-specific protections.
“MEP has been so supportive in helping us realize this temporary solution to keep our doors open and our workforce engaged as an essential business during this challenging time,” says Greg Manger, Costume Specialists president and CEO. “We look forward to continuing to work with MEP to improve and grow our business when we transition back to normal operations.”
Graduates at the Forefront