During times of crisis, people and companies step up. One of those companies is Wisconsin-based pro audio equipment manufacturer Sound Devices, wnhich is producing more than 30,000 face shields each day to help keep frontline workers safe in the fight against COVID-19. The company has pulled together a coalition of local manufacturers in the Reedsburg, Wisconsin, area to achieve this number, including Columbia Parcar, VARC, Cellox and Hankscraft AJS.
Sound Devices realized it could simultaneously play a direct role in helping protect health care workers and keep local area production-line workers employed. Around 100 people in the Reedsburg area are working daily to bring in material, assemble and ship the FS-1 face shields. Sound Devices sells the shields at a nonprofit price and has already shipped nearly a quarter million shields around Wisconsin and the rest of the US.
“The real heroes in this operation have been our line workers,” says Lisa Wiedenfeld, VP of finance and operations at Sound Devices. “They have been coming in day after day and cranking out these face shields while maintaining strict safety standards including wearing face masks, 10-foot distancing and extensive sanitation procedures. Under normal circumstances, ramping up manufacturing on a high volume of a new product is challenging enough, let alone avoiding a dangerous virus at the same time. My hat is off to all of our workers.”
“We started production of our FS-1 and FS-1NL face shields on March 24th, producing about 400 per day. As we’ve increased production to 30,000 per day, one of the most difficult aspects has been procuring enough parts to build consistently,” said Matt Anderson, CEO /president of Sound Devices. “Luckily, we have an extremely resourceful purchasing team. They have tapped our excellent network of Wisconsin-based suppliers. When our production levels outstripped what our suppliers here could do, our overseas suppliers pitched in to augment the supply of parts. But getting parts sent to us has been extremely difficult due to the reduced capacity of shippers. This whole experience has been very challenging but rewarding.”
Sound Devices now has FS-1 (original) and FS-1NL (latex-free) shields in stock. Face shields may be purchased by anyone in the US directly from store.sounddevices.com or by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.