4/24/2020 | 3 MINUTE READ

Mold Builder Just Figures It Out: From Face Shield Mold Design to Sales on a Site in 6 Days!

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Within three days, Bryne Tool + Design of Rockford, Michigan, sold 4,000 face shields at $2.95 each (and available in 10 packs) from a mold that ownership donated.

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“When the virus hit, our team took a look at how the company could help the communities of the local Detroit and western Michigan areas with the challenges of getting much-needed PPD. Bryne Tool + Design ownership was in complete lockstep with our mission, so we immediately started to assess what it would take to make our own headpiece and face shield quickly,” Byrne Tool + Design Strategic Account Manager Andy Baker says.

The team first 3D printed a shield and pushed it across social media, which got an overwhelming response in terms of the number needed, and they quickly realized that 3D printing was not going to cut it. Byrne ownership decided to tool up for the job, and challenged the team to complete it in five days or less, so they could start molding and get these face shields to the people who need them.

The design was completed in one day, and the shop flexed its workforce by bringing workers in over the weekend as well as some additional resources to help with the machining. Byrne also developed the fixturing, the process to punch the holes out and radius the corners, even created an instruction sheet for assembly. A typical tool may take 11 weeks.

“We had the mold done in four days (over a weekend) and started running parts! It was a tremendous effort by the entire organization and the supply chain,” GM Dan Hosford says.  Byrne’s suppliers have been tremendous in not only communicating with them daily but being flexible with their schedules, too, based on the severity of the need,” Hosford says. “DME got us a mold base within less than 24 hours.”

When asked what drove the team to this accomplishment, Baker says it's the mission behind the work. “There was an urgent need, and with that comes a real sense of pride. We need to help our communities,” Baker says.

On top of the mold manufacturing, Byrne took on sourcing the other materials for the face shields as well as the sales and marketing side of things. For example, they even included a hypoallergenic pad with their face shield to reduce or eliminate the chafing the shields have been causing. They sourced the rubber bands that hold the shield on the head as well as the material for the face shields. They determined the price, social media strategy, e-commerce platform, packaging, and shipping.

“We can make around 5,000 a day,” Baker says. As of this interview, more than 4,000 face shields were out to healthcare professionals on the front lines within one week of deciding to tool up for this project. Shields went to all the local hospitals, the first responders, police departments, and firefighters—even a local cancer center in West Michigan.

As a result of Byrne’s quick-turnaround tool and a quality product, the team decided to look at how they are currently operating to identify where they can become a lot more efficient and focused to expedite projects so rapidly in “ordinary” times. “A few customers say they have new expectations on deliveries now,” Baker says.

This project tested the team’s processes and thinking. They discovered the value of thinking outside of the box when designing and building a mold. They also began asking how they can get more out of every day—for example, splitting shifts (two 12-hour shifts).  “This project even opened our eyes to the value of looking at markets differently to see how Byrne can make an impact,” Hosford says.

When asked what drove the team to this accomplishment, Baker says it's the mission behind the work. “There was an urgent need, and with that comes a real sense of pride. We need to help our communities,” Baker says.

Next on the agenda: another four-week tool! Keep it up, Byrne Tool!

 

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