ROCKFORD, Illinois – Co-Lin Metals, a specialty metal fabricating shop in Northern Illinois, discovered a local hospital was in need of a resource to aid in the sterilization and safe reuse of PPE, specifically N95 masks, for front-line workers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a mask has been worn, it should be sterilized using ultraviolet (UV) light prior to being put back into use. The current sterilization and drying system at that hospital was inefficient, only capable of sterilizing a dozen masks at a time. An acquaintance of a front-line worker came to Co-Lin Metals with a vision of how the process could be improved. Starting with a preliminary schematic, Co-Lin engineered a prototype mobile rack system that accommodate up to 48 masks.
The prototype was tested for use at the hospital, and workers found that because of the efficient and mobile design, the rack could easily and quickly be loaded with large quantities of PPE masks, which could then undergo a 5-10 minute sterilization process per side by employing a UV-equipped robot, allowing the masks be safely returned to service.
“Our company excels at custom fabrication projects,” stated Stephen Hedlund, president at Co-Lin Metals. “We are excited to have had the opportunity to make an impact in our community and to aid in the safety of our front-line workers.”
Production of the mobile sterilization was efficient and took only a couple of weeks. Hedlund hopes to have a number of these systems in their inventory in the near future, which would allow minimal distribution time for orders. “We are ready to take orders now, and will be able to work with customers for shipping options and custom designs,” added Hedlund.