As a manufacturer of molds for silicone and plastic medical products, Brea, Calif.-based M.R. Mold & Engineering Corp. is among those manufacturers staying open despite a state order for residents to shelter-in-place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Founded in 1985, M.R. Mold employs 30 people who design and build molds almost exclusively for the medical market to manufacture components, such as valve caps for the pumping units of medical masks.
The maker of injection molds for liquid silicone rubber and thermoplastics has been advised by its legal counsel that it qualifies as a critical manufacturer for the medical supply chain and emergency services industry, according to Marketing Director Geri Anderson.
M.R. Mold will continue to supply its customers, which include a medical device manufacturer that wants to upgrade a respirator mask product, Anderson told Rubber & Plastics News in a phone interview March 20.
The project to redesign part of the mask came in recent days from an original equipment manufacturer who asked if it could be started right away, Anderson added.
"We're in the thick of this, and we need to keep things rolling because what we're doing is important," she said.
M.R. Mold produces molds for a variety of medical products ranging from hip replacements to IV pistons for intravenous drug delivery systems. Ninety-five percent of the company's molds go to the medical market, mostly for silicone products, 80 percent, but also plastic at 20 percent of the business.
Company officials are relieved that M.R. Mold remains open for business, Anderson said. The legal advice also eases the minds of employees, who have been concerned about violating the statewide executive order issued March 19.
"They needed reassurance this morning they won't get in trouble for going to work," Anderson said.
The order from Gov. Gavin Newsom, which could last eight weeks or more, allows for essential businesses to continue to operate in 16 categories, including communications, finance, food and agriculture in addition to critical manufacturing.
"This is part of the community coming together," Anderson said.