Created: April 29, 2020 09:42 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — When the world gives you lemons — make lemonade. Or in this case — face shields. A local company made some quick adjustments when the coronavirus came to our shores. It is now producing personal protection equipment to help guard against the virus.
Tim Rohrer is the founder of Exiscan. The Rochester company makes electrical inspection tools.
"Exiscan manufactures electrical safety products that allow people to inspect their high voltage electrical equipment without blowing themselves up," Rohrer said.
He and a business partner started Exiscan about a decade ago. The company, which has about a dozen employees, has continued to grow and was having it's most successful quarter ever. But then the coronavirus started to spread through China.
"A couple of months ago my partner and I noticed what was happening in China and we started to make Plan B's for if the pandemic hit here in Upstate New York," Rohrer said.
Noticing that sales were starting to taper off, they put Plan B into action, hoping to do something that would allow them to keep paying their employees.
"What are we doing now? We're manufacturing face shields," Rohrer said.
It was a natural fit. A company in the safety industry, pivoting to make personal protection equipment.
"We shifted into the face shields, which protect a care giver's entire face and also protects their N95 mask so that their N95 mask can be used for a longer period of time," Rohrer added.
It took a couple of days to design the shields. And a few more to modify the production line.
"Then my wife posted something on the Facebook Nextdoor app and immediately we started getting orders from people who were publicizing it in the Nextdoor app — before we called a single client."
Within seven days, Exiscan had orders from around the country and has already pumped out 15,000 face shields.
"We literally figured if we did a thousand a week, that would keep the lights on, keep the employees in paychecks and let us get through what we figured was a three to four-week rough spot," Rohrer said. "And within the first matter of days, we had orders that dwarfed what we planned on doing total."
They now have production going seven days a week and have taken on additional temporary workers. Rohrer said to keep their employees safe, they are working two shifts to keep them separated and have spread out the work stations. Employees are also wearing masks.
While he doesn't see Exiscan staying in the face shield market long-term, Rohrer says it's been rewarding being able to contribute.
"We had no idea how big the demand was going to be. and it's been really fulfilling to be making these. We get calls back from hospitals and dentist offices thanking us for changing over our production."
If you know of a local small business we should feature, email us at email@example.com.
Copyright 2020 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company