Article: "Challenge" from Owner, Creates Necessary Product for Orbitform Medical
Updated: Apr 19
By Jeff Steers JTV News Orbitform owner Mike Shirkey challenged his team to come up with a device to help with the shortage of N95 face masks/respirators in light of the coronavirus pandemic. That was Saturday, March 21, at noon. Six days later the team from Orbitform Medical (a independent division of Orbitform) produced a prototype to sanitize ten masks at a time using UV lights in an enclosed compartment. The device is called the Orbitform Medical mask-sanitizer. A second prototype version is expected later this week. “We have heard of hospitals that were hanging N95 masks on clothes lines in front of UV lights for 30 minutes per side,” Orbitform President Phil Sponsler said. “To go from an idea on a Saturday to a prototype on Thursday is significant.” Orbitform had representatives from Henry Ford Allegiance Health look at the mask sanitizer prototype and give recommendations for changes. He said the device would be useful for small hospitals and emergency technicians. The idea was in response to a national shortage of surgical and medical masks in the United States due to the cononavirus pandemic. In Jackson County, Henry Ford Allegiance is reporting 28 positive cases and one death as of Sunday. Nationally, more than 142,000 cases have been reported resulting in nearly 2,500 deaths. The newly formed company, Orbitform Medical LLC, is expected to be in the validation process soon and is hoping to start production as early as April. Sponsler believes the second prototype will include some sort of automation in the process. “We (the United States) are the most innovative people on the planet … this is American ingenuity on a rapid pace,” Sponsler said. “We are seeing a tremendous amount of businesses re-shoring (in light of the situation).” Sponsler said the entire company has pitched in on the innovation. Jacob Sponsler created the initial design, David Shirkey has been the project manager, Jim Smith has led the manufacturing, Mark Shirkey has been in charge of materials, and Tom Needham has been in charge of controls. “Behind the names stands a whole group of people working on this,” Sponsler said. “From our front-line purchasing people to fabrication, and machine builders … this has been a whole Orbitform team effort.” They have created a website – www.orbitformmedical.com – to highlight the innovation. Orbitform has a number of divisions including aerospace, automotive, home goods, industrial, medical, and recreational. Sponsler said the company develops prototypes on a regular basis for a number of products. Orbitform and Orbitform Medical are located at 1600 Executive Drive and may be contacted at 517-787-9447.
About the Mask-Sanitizer:
The Mask-Sanitizer is a Portable On-Site Face Mask Disinfection Chamber for disposable face masks. The disinfection method is eight (8) germicidal UV-C bulbs positioned in front of and behind the N95 face masks. 10 face masks can be disinfected during each 15-minute cycle. The Mask-Sanitizer can be used at hospitals, fire stations, police stations, nursing homes, etc., and can be located near the actual point of use. One or more mask-sanitizers can be located at each station, department, wing, hallway or emergency room, so there is no need to handle and disinfect mass numbers of masks at a central or off-site location. The Mask-Sanitizer is simple to operate, easy to roll around, and versatile enough to be transported in the back of a minivan or SUV.