A Minnesota company has ramped up production of medical ventilator components at its Long Prairie, Bethel and Montevideo plants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a decade, Chandler Industries has produced precision-machined parts for a major ventilator manufacturer at its Montevideo plant. With the sudden demand for ventilators during the pandemic, the company has added capacity to produce the parts in Long Prairie and Bethel.
The Bethel plant began manufacturing a ventilator component April 6 with just a few days’ lead time. Shane Hybben, general manager of the Bethel division, said the average lead time to start making new parts is two to three weeks.
“We completed the front-end process in a very quick manner for this particular part,” he said.
Chandler’s Long Prairie site has also kicked into high gear to help fill the need for ventilators.
“We have ramped up production of one of the ventilator products to support the Montevideo team in record time,” Brent Line, general manager of the Long Prairie plant, said in a statement. “We completed the process design and documentation, procured the raw material and required tooling, programmed our CNC machines (Computer Numerical Control) and our CMM (Coordinate Measurement Machine) and were cutting chips in one week.”
According to Denise Bangsund, general manager of the Montevideo manufacturing site, the company is receiving orders at up to 10 times its normal rate and expects that to continue for at least four months.
“It is only through the collaboration of all of our Minnesota site teams that we are able to ramp up fast enough to meet our customer’s crucial need for our products,” said Chandler Industries President Don Alter, in a statement.
In addition, the company says it’s working with a large electrical product company in Mexico to create ventilator components at Chandler’s plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.
“We are proud to support this critical need for medical products, and even more proud of all of our employees that have rallied around this cause and are outperforming even the best of expectations,” said Chandler CEO Tom Ryan in a statement. “We are not only keeping all of our employees working, we are actually hiring at these three locations that span the state of Minnesota.”
Now headquartered in Minneapolis, Chandler Industries was founded in 1962 in Montevideo. The company supports the medical, aerospace, defense and industrial infrastructure industries. Chandler employs approximately 250 people in Minnesota and 60 in Chihuahua, Mexico.