It has been a few weeks since I have emailed as things have continued to be a bit nuts here. Not bad nuts, not great nuts – simply crazy busy nuts.
In my last email, I shared all the different setups to ger our mask machinery up and running under Canadian standards. While we have done a lot, it is never enough. But we are 99% there.
Update – 2.5 Million masks to make asap.
Saying that, the biggest updates is that we are officially in production. We have about 2.5 Million mask orders to fill asap. We are not yet at the speed or capacity that we would like, but we are making great progress and have made a few hundred thousand masks already.
Over the Last Weeks: New Hires and More.
Over the last 3 weeks, we have hired 10 new people to help us run the machinery. Our hours are Monday to Sunday from 6am to 10pm. Soon we will likely add a night shift and be 24/7.
Lots of masks to make, lots of new hires. Lots of learning, but still lots of challenges.
Fine Tuning is not Fun Tuning (not yet at least), but a Heat Wave while Making Masks really sucks.
While setting up the machinery was not easy OR cheap, we have to continuously fine tune the machinery – every change we make, effects another thing, every move forward, we now have to learn something else.
But then – add in a heat wave! Last weeks’ heat wave in Ontario (where we are based – Oakville, Ontario to be exact) was not something we could have ever planned for, in terms of its impact on our masks.
Why does the heat matter? The clean room where we make our masks is about 750 square feet – a good size, but not huge. We have 4-5 people in the room at any given time. That plus machines, plus a heat wave is not an easy environment for making light fluffy masks.
Our entire team was well hydrated and we did our best to keep cool. I ended up buying 3 portable ACs, 4 fans and anything possible to keep our staff, but also our masks cool.
Basically, our masks are just made of thin material (called spun bound and/or melt blown). With the combination of the heat and humidity, they act funny. They curl, they move and they really do not stay in place. They have a mind of their own. We have done our best to tame the beast that has become our lives, and after a few weeks while not all the way there, we are well on our way.
Spare Parts! Need More Spare Parts. Got Enough, probably need More.
Oh, but then parts start breaking or we make a human error and it throws the machine off and something breaks. Our mask machine is like a delicate instrument. When everything is perfect, it sounds like a beautiful orchestrated tribal drum beat I have witnessed in Ethiopia or even Carnival in Brazil – when not, it sounds like a bunch of clinks, clank, and some obscenities thrown around.
One key machine part went on us late last week and one of our machines was done for 5 days – not the end of the world as we were still able to make our masks, just not as many. We had some parts, but of course not that one we needed. We are now stocking LOTS and LOTS of parts to be ready for the next breakdown, will come – just a matter of when.
Still here. Going to be here. Making it happen.
What all this has meant is that I love what we are doing and why we are doing it. We are here to make masks for those in need, making them proudly in Canada however, whenever needed.
With so many cities now requiring masks, it was inevitable this day would come. We are here and continue to be ready to help. The response has been incredible.
We are actually already sold out of our Made in Canada masks, and now backlogged with our bigger customers until September at least. Every time we put more stock on the website, it is gone before we know it (for the made in Canada stock).
Do Not Worry – we are making more – we are building back up our stock and now taking pre-orders that will ship in a few weeks. You can still always order our other products that we do have stock of, including our children masks, our medical grade or our KN95s.
So that’s today’s updated. I will try and update sooner, but if not, know we are busy working away, learning, tuning, fighting, and sometimes dancing with our new machinery and venture.
As always, thank you. Stay Safe,