BALLSTON SPA, N.Y.—A New York-based manufacturer and supplier of silicone products is doing its part in the fight against COVID-19, particularly as a way to support health care providers and their critical needs in an effort to save lives.
Ballston Spa-based Specialty Silicone Products recently received and is delivering on an order for EMI/RFI Shielding elastomers that will be used to produce a large volume of EMI gaskets for ventilators that are in demand by health care providers because they are smaller and more easily transportable for immediate needs.
This gasket is just one part of a huge supply chain of value-added parts makers that are scaling up incredibly quickly to meet these extreme demands, said SSP Business Development Manager Dominic Testo. This type of order would normally take 8-12 weeks to fulfill given the quantity needed, but the company will deliver this order in about three weeks, with some shipments already begun.
The gasket actually is being shipped to automotive OEMs who have been tasked to make these ventilators in the short term to support the battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic. If this was a standard seal, the molder might have chosen a non-USP Class VI silicone. However, because the ventilator is designed for hospital use, it is said to be safer to choose a tested and proven medical-grade silicone.
Specifically, SSP said it is supplying a 20-durometer silicone that meets FDA and USP Class VI requirements for these ventilators. It is being manufactured and shipped as cured rolls for a personal protective equipment application where there is skin contact. The SSP-2390-40, a 40-durometer FDA and USP Class VI silicone, also is being made and shipped in similar fashion.
It has helped that chromatography and laboratory testing is a huge part of SSP's business and experience as well, given the short time in which the gaskets were needed.
"It just shows what can be done when you have to," Testo said. "Just like everyone, we recognize that these are unique times and our staff is meeting the need. We all have to do our part and people will remember those that took an active role."
Employees who can work from home are doing so, and everyone is doing their part to promote safety and ensure productivity, while doing what is necessary to fill the large, recent order, Testo said. SSP also is working to supply high volumes of sealing mats for COVID-19 testing to large diagnostic companies. It is giving employees a sense that they are helping in this battle against the coronavirus, which Testo said is "motivating" the entire team.
Customers who are not receiving COVID-related goods are more than willing to have their orders delayed for these priority needs, Testo added. Some non-COVID materials still are being produced, although much of that work is being done for military, defense and aerospace clients right now.
"We really wish that emergency scale-ups like this were not necessary, and we'd gladly trade this sale for a COVID-19 cure," Testo said.
Additionally, SSP has secured and donated hundreds of N95 masks to local hospitals and 200 Tyvek-hooded suits for the Office of Emergency Management of New York City. One of SSP's overseas clients had some extra inventory and wanted to provide some of the masks to the front lines in New York, so they were sent directly to SSP.
"It really is amazing how everyone has been coming together," Testo said.