Corinna Petry headshot
BY corinna petry
Critical care

e will know soon enough how deep the recession of 2020 will plunge, but judging sheerly by jobless claims in the first few weeks of lockdown, it will be historic. There is a silver lining, and that is the sense of community—coming to the aid of our neighbors.

Steelmaker SSAB Americas has prioritized production of steel designated for use in local, state or federal-level COVID-19 disaster relief programs or projects. The company implemented a new order designation, Relief Effort Priority (REP), for customer orders of steel destined for disaster relief. REP-designated orders are inserted immediately into the production cycle with expedited finishing, shipping and logistics.

“We are supporting efforts to combat this pandemic for the greater good of our communities,” SSAB Americas President Chuck Schmitt stated.

Nucor Steel Seattle Inc. is making face shields with 3D printers, according to the West Seattle Blog. “To scale up production beyond its initial capability of 100 face shields per week, Nucor Seattle turned to the community, collaborating with local high schools, technical schools and residents, who have lent idle equipment or are using personal equipment to print components and donate supplies for assembly at the steel mill,” Patrick Jablonski, the rebar mill’s environmental manager, told the news outlet.

“When our community learned of this effort, they stepped up to help and we have gone from 100 face shields in a week to about 100 face shields per day,” Jablonski said.

PPG and Dura Industries’ DuraPaint, an applicator of liquid spray coatings, are coating bed dividers at Joseph Brant Hospital’s pop-up, 93-bed pandemic response unit in Burlington, Ontario. The unit will house coronavirus patients.

Metal Supermarkets, a national chain of stores selling small-quantity metal products, has been supplying hospitals and manufacturers with materials that are fashioned into respirators, masks and other personal protection equipment (PPE). 

For example, Metal Supermarkets store owners donated aluminum plates to make safety masks for Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage; a Virginia customer used steel tubing to make racks for a local hospital to sterilize PPE worn by staff; a Maryland customer used aluminum tread plate to repair out-of-service ambulances; and a Washington manufacturer used square tubing to make sterilizing equipment for a local hospital.

John Deere and members of the United Auto Workers union expect to produce 225,000 protective face shields in Moline, Illinois, for use by regional first responders.

“By working closely with the communities where our employees live and work, we can help support and address urgent needs,” Deere CEO John May said.

The Caterpillar Foundation pledged $8.5 million to support global communities, including underserved populations, who are affected by the virus. The investment will support nonprofit organizations working to prevent, detect and respond to the pandemic; provide resources to hospitals, medical staff and patients; address food insecurity; and enable online STEM and coding education for youth impacted by school closures.

“These investments are an important expression of our company’s values,” said Jim Umpleby, Caterpillar chairman and CEO.

We at Modern Metals express our thanks to the metals supply chain for its thoughtful and effective response.

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