“We jumped into that conversation with a view on how could we use our skills and our talents and our assets to help in the things that work more broadly and could potentially be made available to the health care workers,” iMFLUX CEO Mary Wagner told the Journal-News.
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For the company, that ended up in two distinct areas: injection molding technology to create headbands to attach to face shields, and a mold shop that can build molds that will enable other companies to create test swabs.
“It’s us using our assets and the people that we have to be able to bring that to life for health care workers in Ohio and more broadly,” Wagner said. “We have an important piece in the flexibility we have in both making molds quickly and in producing the actual headbands to then provide the larger quantities.”
iMFLUX, a technology incubator, employs approximately 130 people. It started the effort about three weeks ago as part of a broader effort first launched by P&G. It initially partnered with and donated to the Cleveland Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
“That is expanding pretty quickly because we’re working with FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), so they will end up distributing much more broadly than even (we) would be able to directly,” Wagner said.
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iMFLUX, which was deemed essential and supportive during the pandemic, wanted to do “a little bit more” to help, according to Jodi Hammock, human resources leader at iMFLUX.
“We looked at the assets and the skills and capabilities we had and said, ‘We can help do this very quickly,’” Wagner said. “Part of it was just our passion to try and help provide support in the communities in which we’re working and living.”
Hamilton City Manager Joshua Smith told the Journal-News the city is “blessed to have an incredible mix of small and large businesses that have strong community pride and passion,” and that includes iMFLUX.
“They have been great to work with at the local level since they opened their doors in Hamilton,” he said. “Now iMFLUX has elevated their positive impact on the state and federal level, as they use their entrepreneurial and knowledge skills to assist with the manufacturing process of PPEs.”
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There have been many references to fighting COVID-19 as a war, and there are similarities between iMFLUX and prior companies in Hamilton who have engaged in manufacturing for the good of the country, Smith said.
For example, Hooven, Owens, Rentschler (HOR) manufactured Liberty Engines to fight the Axis Powers in World War II, he said.
“Today, iMFLUX makes PPEs to keep our hospital workers and first responders safe,” Smith said. “It certainly makes me proud as a Hamiltonian to see citizens and businesses rise to the occasion.”