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SRB Technologies retools to make face masks during COVID‑19

The Canadian nuclear industry has responded to the current COVID-19 crisis both directly and indirectly. Laboratories, utilities, and the nuclear supply chain are supporting local health authorities by providing gloves, masks, protective clothing, and equipment that is urgently needed on the front lines. Beyond the supply of these materials — the industry is also applying its expertise and ability to innovate to help Canada and the world meet this challenge. This profile is part of a series on how CNA members are pivoting to respond to need and remain relevant in a time of crisis
August 1, 2020

With Ontario facing concerns about potential shortages of personal protective equipment for front-line workers, SRB Technologies (SRBT) in Pembroke, Ont., has redeployed its resources to produce 10,000 face shields a week for Renfrew County and the surrounding area.

SRBT manufactures unique and critical safety-related equipment, including emergency lighting for the nuclear, aerospace, construction and defence sectors, and self-powered exit signs.

The story of how SRBT transformed its operations began on March 21, when Ontario Premier Doug Ford called on the province’s business to help make medical supplies and the Ontario government launched the Ontario Together portal. The website calls on Ontario’s manufacturers, entrepreneurs and innovators to provide essential supplies and equipment in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Soon after, the company met with officials from the Pembroke Regional Hospital and area retirement homes. They needed face shields. By April 4, the company had developed a business plan to redeploy its resources to begin making them.

“The business plan was developed to produce a face shield that could be best manufactured with the equipment, expertise and staff already in place at SRBT,” the company explained in a press release.

In early June, SRBT was one of three Ontario manufacturers to receive financing from the Ontario Together Fund. SRBT received $59,889 to convert a portion of its production to manufacturing medical-grade face shields. SRBT also received funding from the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation and a Medical Device Establishment licence from Health Canada.

SRBT then created three shifts covering 24 hours to produce the 10,000 shields a week.

Face shields can be purchased by anybody for $15 each. Since production began, SRB Technologies made deliveries of just more than 4,000 face shields to more than 70 institutions and various members of the public, including:

  • local hospitals,
  • long-term care facilities,
  • hair and beauty salons,
  • restaurants,
  • daycares,
  • school board and schools,
  • dental care facilities,
  • movie theatres and
  • hardware stores.