Troy, Mich. — Cadillac Products Automotive Co. and sister firm Cadillac Products Packaging Co. have joined the list of companies that have shifted production to make medical personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect against COVID-19.
Both companies make films that are comparable to specifications required for protective medical gowns used by doctors, nurses and technicians.
This effort began when Robert Williams Jr., president and CEO of Cadillac Products Packaging, heard from his daughter, Maggie Williams, that she and others at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit were running dangerously short on disposable medical gown PPEs. Maggie Williams is a certified registered nurse anesthetist.
Tooling and other needed equipment were designed and manufactured, taking into consideration the challenge of sizing mismatch between machinery and gown dimensions.
"I'm extremely proud of how quickly our team responded to this manufacturing challenge," said Mike Williams III, general manager of Cadillac Products Automotive. "All our team members were excited to help, working through the weekends to bring our capability online. It's great that we have such a capable team that can make a difference in this time of need."
Currently utilizing volunteer labor to produce more than 300 finished gowns per hour, Cadillac completed the first run of 500 gowns and sent them to Sinai-Grace Hospital on April 5.
To date, Cadillac has delivered 2,600 gowns. More than 11,000 gowns will be produced initially, and improved tooling and equipment is expected to help the companies increase output in the weeks ahead.
Multiple facilities are involved in this production. Polyethylene film is being produced at Cadillac Products' Paris, Ill., plant.
In metro Detroit, gown shapes are cut out on a repurposed production machine in Roseville, Mich., and taken to Troy, Mich., to have the sleeves heat-sealed and the gown packaged in boxes.
Key suppliers also donated to the cause, according to Michael Williams II, chairman of Cadillac Products Automotive. They include Dow Inc., which donated PE resin; Universal Container Corp. in Ferndale, Mich., which donated boxes; Stevens Custom Fabrication in Alpena, Mich., which donated custom heat-seal bars; and Rupp Engineering in Fraser, Mich., which worked on design and fabrication of tooling.
Cadillac Products also donated 180 N95 respirators from inventory to Sinai-Grace Hospital.