Russells Point company pivots, makes face shields


By Ron Brohm - Urbana Daily Citizen



High-tech tools blast out the design of the new face shield.

High-tech tools blast out the design of the new face shield.


Photos courtesy of World Class Plastics

The finished product just took five days from idea to delivery of its first sale.

The finished product just took five days from idea to delivery of its first sale.


Photos courtesy of World Class Plastics

Angel Payne, from the Logan County Solid Waste District, stands with a face shield. She is an early customer of this product.


Photos courtesy of World Class Plastics

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See more stories about the pandemic at LimaOhio.com/tag/coronavirus.

RUSSELLS POINT — An Indian Lake-area company, World Class Plastics, has started production of new Personal Protection Equipment. It now produces the “hey dont touch your face” face shield.

Like so many companies supplying products to the automotive industry, this plastics company has experienced significant economic pain from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within a matter of a few days, this small company went from a booming economy, the best year the company ever had, to virtually no orders.

“Seemingly overnight in March of 2020, our sales dropped by over 80%, and we found ourselves in fear of losing our company and the inability to employ our workforce,” said Steve Buchenroth, owner of World Class Plastics.

World Class Plastics was founded in 1994 by Buchenroth, Scott Wisniewski and Neil Schroer and produced its first product in September of 1994.

The company’s first projects as a start-up in 1994 were the production of clips and fasteners for the automotive industry. Buchenroth and Wisniewski still own the company today.

“We employ about 100 people now and consider our associates to be an extended family and our most valuable resource.” added David Wisniewski, vice president of engineering and research and development. “We are a small business in Russells Point, Ohio, doing custom injection molding, light assembly, and some decorating. Our customers are from the automotive, industrial, aerospace, and dental supply businesses.”

Day 1 - the idea

It all started just about a month ago on Sunday, March 30, when Buchenroth listened to an interview with New York physician Dr. David Price on the Fox News show “Watters’ World.” Dr. Price, of Weill Cornell Medical Center and Jesse Watters, left Steve with a very important safety message, “DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE!”

Looking at the prospect of a growing pandemic, the shortage of personal protection equipment and the wisdom from Dr. Price, Buchenroth called his co-owner of World Class Plastics, Scott Wisniewski, that night and they agreed to immediately take on the task of designing and making face shields and face masks.

“Our motivation was to replace lost business so we could get as many associates back on the job as soon as possible, and generally to be of service to our community,” stated David Wisniewski.

Day 2 - remarkable teamwork

The very next day, on March 31, after sharing this information with several team members, a prototype of a face shield was designed, and a 3D model printed that day. After a few more design changes and more 3D prototypes, the team’s face shield design was completed.

Company employees Nick Wisniewski, David Wisniewski, Scott Wisniewski, WC Wagoner, Rob Harter and Tracy McCloud were instrumental in accomplishing this feat.

Day 3 - incredible feat

One day later, the tooling department began the process of building an injection mold with no time to waste.

“The management, engineering, and tooling teams decided to first develop a face shield and get it into mass production via injection molding as fast as we could,” Wisniewski said.

“Many face shields were being produced around the country by 3D printing, but we wanted to do something that would increase output by over 100 times compared to 3D printing because the need was so great. Plus, an injection-molded part is stronger and much more durable than a 3D-printed part,” Wisniewski said.

So the team got down to business and Nick Wisniewski pushed the CAD files of the “halo” over to the tooling department where they began the tool build process.

Rob Harter, Rennie Putnam and Jason Cruea began to work around the clock to build the halo tool for the face shield.

Production Engineer Dan Notestine designed and built an end-of-arm tool to enable the 5 axis robot to remove the parts from the tool.

Robin Brandewie designed the art for the poly label on the front of the shield. Becky Cronkleton secured a supply of weather proof and alcohol resistant poly labels.

Scott Wisniewski and Kathy Hall continued securing vendors for the shield/visor portion of the face shield.

Day 4 - mold completed

After an amazing amount of effort from the tooling department, the new tool was completed and polished by 8 p.m. Thursday, April 2, and production could begin.

Day 5 - production begins, 1st order shipped

On April 3, days after Buchenroth came up with the idea from watching a TV news show, the newly built injection mold (tool) was installed into a press at 8 a.m., and production began.

“The tool not only ran perfectly, but it ran faster than our predicted cycle, allowing us to produce 70,000 pieces per month on a five-day work week or 100,000 pieces per month on a 7-day work week,” Buchenroth said.

“We started planning the project on Monday, March 30, and by Friday, April 3 we had a simple mold completed and running at a rate of 3,400 face shield frames per day,” added David Wisniewski.

The company’s first order of “hey dont touch your face” shields was then filled and shipped to a local organization in Logan County. “Many thanks to Angel Payne from The Logan County Solid Waste District for purchasing 100 of our “hey dont touch your face” shields. It was great to make our first shipment right here in Logan County,” said Buchenroth.

In just five days this small company turned what was turning a lemon (no fault of their own) into lemonade. Only in America with great American workers can such a phenomenal story like this unfold.

Once this five-day metamorphosis of the company took place and they had a new product, they were now faced with a new problem. This new face shield is a retail product, and the company was not really geared up for selling something like that. But nothing was going to stop the ingenuity, drive and American spirit of this Logan County company and their talented leaders and employees.

“Although retail sales was completely new to us, we reached out to business friends who built us a sales website to support our initial advertising via social media and email. The web site has been continuously improved and has streamlined our order fulfillment process greatly in the last 2 weeks, ” said Wisniewski.

This resourceful crew at World Class Plastics is already working on a second personal protection product to sell to the public and organizations.

“Our next product launch is planned to be a face mask that can be used in the absence of N95 face masks that are generally in short supply. We are about 25% through the tool build process for 2 molds that will produce the face mask parts, and hope to be molding face masks within 2-3 weeks,” Wisniewski explained.

Orders for World Class Plastics, “hey dont touch your face” face shields, can be placed on the website at www.heydonttouchyourface.com or www.worldclassplastics.net.

High-tech tools blast out the design of the new face shield.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_facemask-2.jpgHigh-tech tools blast out the design of the new face shield. Photos courtesy of World Class Plastics
The finished product just took five days from idea to delivery of its first sale.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_facemask2-2.jpgThe finished product just took five days from idea to delivery of its first sale. Photos courtesy of World Class Plastics
Angel Payne, from the Logan County Solid Waste District, stands with a face shield. She is an early customer of this product.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2020/04/web1_facemask3-2.jpgAngel Payne, from the Logan County Solid Waste District, stands with a face shield. She is an early customer of this product. Photos courtesy of World Class Plastics

By Ron Brohm

Urbana Daily Citizen

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

See more stories about the pandemic at LimaOhio.com/tag/coronavirus.

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