Ohio’s COVID-19 Manufacturing Alliance has claimed its first success.
Up to 1 million successes, actually.
A group of 19 Ohio companies, most from Northeast Ohio, has quickly retooled to produce between 750,000 and 1 million face shields sought by medical workers across the state and country, according to the Manufacturing Alliance.
Little Tikes, the Hudson-based maker of children’s toys such as the Cozy Coupe, will assemble the shields from material supplied by other Ohio companies. Little Tikes expects to ship the first shields by the middle of next week.
"Little Tikes is proud to play a key role in this joint effort to drive the development of more than 750,000 face shields, one of the most urgently needed PPE items for hospitals across the country," said Isaac Larian, CEO and founder of MGA Entertainment, which owns Little Tikes.
MAGNET, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network based at Cleveland State University, coordinated the effort by connecting suppliers and engineers. Case Western Reserve University, Eaton and MAGNET engineers designed and built the prototype.
"Pulling together a complex supply chain often takes nine months to a year or longer, but through the commitment of these Ohio manufacturers, we have done it in about a week," MAGNET CEO Ethan Karp said in the release.
The face shields represent the first in what organizers hope will be several success stories from the alliance, announced by Gov. Mike DeWine on April 1 to produce personal protective equipment needed by medical workers and first responders.
DeWine celebrated the shields in his Thursday news conference.
"They have moved from prototype to production in just two weeks," DeWine said. "These are companies that normally make products ranging from toys to engine parts."
DeWine said the shields will be distributed by the Ohio Department of Health.
"Our purpose isn’t to hold them, it’s to get them out," he said.
The state’s manufacturing alliance is led by the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, the Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (and its partner organization MAGNET), the Ohio Hospital Association and JobsOhio, in partnership with the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and the Ohio Department of Health.
More than 1,500 manufacturers have contacted the alliance looking to help in some capacity.