Five Oakland County Manufacturers Share $219K to Make Gear for Health Care and First Responders and Help Businesses Reopen Safely in COVID-19 Crisis

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Five more Oakland County manufacturers — including the owner of a Southfield company who is a COVID-19 survivor — will share $219,000 in “Saving Business, Saving Lives” grants to make personal protective equipment such as masks and face shields used in the fight against the coronavirus.

Oakland County Executive David Coulter announced the grants Aug. 26. They come from a $1 million fund he proposed and that was approved by the county Board of Commissioners to incentivize Oakland County manufacturers who can shift production to include personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, face shields or medical device components. More than $885,000 has now been shared by 23 companies.

“Nearly two dozen Oakland County manufacturers have stepped forward to protect our health care professionals and first responders and provide necessary items that allow small and large businesses of all types to reopen safely,” Coulter said. “The creativity, initiative and commitment of our manufacturers to help others is vital to our economic health and recovery. I appreciate and thank them for what they’ve done.”

The companies receiving grants are:

Detroit Multimedia, Southfield
The company, which produces marketing materials such as printing, embroidery and signage, will design, manufacture and install social distancing walls, floor signs and posters. Grant will allow for the purchase of equipment to boost production and enable quick delivery of product to customers. Company owner Dionciel Armstrong and his wife are both COVID-19 survivors.

Cadillac Products Automotive Co., Troy
The company provides a vast array of protective plastic, exterior and interior acoustical parts and door water shields to the automotive industry. It has pivoted to produce medical isolation gowns. The grant will allow build out of a work cell enabling high volume production (4.5 million a year) of isolation gowns as well as a long-term diversification of the company’s product line.

Aero Design Systems, South Lyon
The engineering and aircraft certification firm has shifted to develop and produce an ultraviolet light sterilization “tunnel” system designed to quickly and automatically sanitize large objects such as grocery carts, wheelchairs, hospital beds and luggage among other items.

CAC Asset Solutions, Southfield
The company provides complete COVID sanitization services for bank-owned residential properties that are for sale. Grant will enable the company to purchase additional materials and hire additional employees to expand its service.

Urgent Plastics Services, Rochester Hills
The company, which normally provides prototyping, injection molding and metal stamping for automotive and defense, now can produce 30,000 face shields a week. It recently delivered 600,000 to an automotive original equipment manufacturer. The grant will enable higher production and long-term company diversification of its product line.

Each proposal was reviewed by a panel. The panel members are:

  • Manager Alain Piette, MI-SBTDC Technology Team
  • Dr. Carmine Jabri, co-founder of E.M.M.A. International Consulting Group, Inc.
  • Jaideep Rajput, director of commercialization for Beaumont Health Services
  • Michael W. Long, Ph.D., executive director of Oakland University Mobilization Zone
  • Julie Killian, CPA, Clayton & McKervey
  • Dan Radomski, director, Lawrence Technological University Centrepolis Accelerator

County Commissioners Janet Jackson, D-Southfield; William Miller, D-Farmington; and Michael Spisz, R-Oxford participated in an advisory role. A business applying for a grant needed to demonstrate the ability to execute the project during the pandemic.

The “Savings Business, Saving Lives” grant is part of larger job stabilization effort by the county, which has committed more than $100 million to small businesses, communities and residents who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In June, Oakland County gave a $10 million grant to Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center and the World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB), to help the county’s manufacturing base purchase and implement Industry 4.0 technologies that can be used in direct support of manufacturing personal protection equipment.

Oakland County, in partnership with Macomb County (which gave $2 million) and Automation Alley, created the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program to address the urgent need to move Oakland County and Macomb County-based companies quickly into the digital manufacturing age of Industry 4.0 to help improve the region’s manufacturing agility for PPE.

Oakland and Macomb county-based manufacturers interested in applying for the Personal Protective Equipment Resilience Grant Program can find more information and a link to the application here.

Industry 4.0 technologies for this grant program refer to: Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, The Cloud, Cybersecurity, Additive Manufacturing and Advanced Materials and Modeling, Simulation, Visualization, and Immersion (MSVI).

Industry 4.0 technologies enable rapid and resilient responses to catastrophic events. The following are some examples of their use during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Digital factory and MSVI technologies used to model TCF Center in Detroit
  • Additive manufacturing used to produce ventilator parts and molds, and PPE
  • Big data used to assess COVID-19 spread, behaviors and trends
  • Cybersecurity technologies critical for secure contact tracing