Local furniture manufacturer shifts production to surgical gowns and hoods

Coronavirus

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A local furniture company has transformed their operations to create personal protective equipment for those who are on the front-lines of treating COVID-19 patients.

Transformations Furniture, located on the north side of Fort Wayne, recently shifted production to healthcare items when they learned from another company that could get the materials necessary for surgical gowns and hoods. The materials that they are working with to make the hoods and gowns are of the highest grade protection, and are in need across the country.

“Worked with them to realize that we actually could source the materials that are used in Level 4, Level 3 surgical gowns and we can seal these seams because we have that capability,” said Transformations owner and Vice President, Stuart Reynolds.

After Reynolds spoke with a close friend, the idea to design and produce a PAPR hood, or Personal Air-Purifying Respirator, was born. His friends’ group of engineers has started to work on the extruded parts, while Transformations is producing the fabric part of the hood. Reynolds says that these PAPR hoods are essential for keeping those who are treating COVID-19 patients safe.

“It’s a positive airflow, so the air pumps in, it’s filtered air, it pumps into the hood fills it with air and then the person breathing it has filtered air and they can be around people with COVID-19,” said Reynolds.

Transformations has been helped by the Klopfenstein family, who made a trip to Pennsylvania to pickup materials needed for more gowns and hoods. They are also partnering with two northeast Indiana furniture companies, Home Reserve and Wieland Designs, for gown and hood production.

Reynolds says that Transformations will start producing 2000 hoods a day early next week and are awaiting contracts to begin working on more intensive surgical gown production.

The gowns and hoods will not be tested prior to distribution as Reynolds says the goal is to get a gown and hood in the hands of those who need it as quickly as possible. However, the proper sterilization process has been followed prior to production.

“People have said can you send us a gown? We’ll say absolutely. We’ll send you a gown with sealed seams. Level 4 material. We’ll give you a testing date on the material. But we’re not making any implications, these are used for relief efforts only. If you want to do your testing, do you testing on it. If you want a gown, we’d love to help out,” said Reynolds.

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