Garmin AT Associates Build Face Shields for Salem Healthcare Workers

More than 40 associates at the Garmin AT office in Salem, Oregon, volunteered to build 2,500 face shields for Santiam Hospital and Salem Hospital.

The idea stemmed from the associates’ desire to help their local healthcare workers. The team explored several ideas such as how Garmin could produce ventilators or 3D-print face shields. After reaching out to local hospitals, the team discovered that there was an immediate need for face shields. “Face shields seemed well within our capabilities, but they take time to make,” says Nathan Moody, team leader, mechanical engineering. “I came across an article about the open-source face shield design Ford was planning to produce. This open-source design was simple and didn’t require a 3D printed frame.”

Nate reached out to a converter supplier the office uses for aviation parts, Seal Methods Inc (SMI), but quickly learned that these materials were in short supply, and the supply chain was unreliable for delivery. They worked with their outside sales representative to get the necessary materials and provide them in less than a week. SMI even donated the cost of a higher quality foam to keep the lead time down.

Taking turns in shifts of six, associates set up in a conference room big enough to maintain social distancing guidelines and began assembling the shields. They finished well ahead of the goal of 12 hours and built all 2,500 shields in 5 hours. “While a few of us were focused on getting materials in house, others were organizing volunteers and setting up the conference room for assembly,” says Nathan. “Each volunteer assembled shields as fast as possible, trying to improve their production as they went. This was a real team effort that demonstrated what can be accomplished when people come together with purpose.”

Associates at Garmin AT in Salem, Oregon, assemble the face shields for local Salem hospitals. More than 40 associates volunteered to assemble the materials. They maintained social distancing guidelines while working as groups of six at a time in a conference room on campus. The materials for all 2,500 shields were sourced with the help of the office’s outside sales representatives and converter supplier, SMI, donating the costs of the higher quality foam.