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Qualtek Manufacturing producing parts for ventilators, other medical equipment

Stacks of heat exchange plates at Qualtek Manufacturing.
Posted at 6:02 PM, May 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-04 20:39:00-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A local manufacturing company is stepping up to mass produce parts for medical equipment that is desperately needed right now.

We spoke with Qualtek Manufacturing and its efforts to help those battling the coronavirus. From making parts for ventilators and other devices that are needed to help patients breathe, to adding shifts, hiring more people, and putting other projects on pause - Qualtek is doing its part.

Qualtek is a metal stamping operation, similar to sheet metal forming. The company's bread and butter - producing parts for aerospace and medical devices.

President Christopher Fagnant said, "The aerospace side of the business really has been put on pause if you will."

That's because of COVID-19. Right now the company is really focusing on making respiratory-specific medical device parts - items that are so needed to save the lives of people with the virus.

"Normally we'd be making somewhere in the neighborhood of 800,000 a year. Now we're pacing to two million."

Fagnant is talking about the production of a laryngoscope, a part that is used during the intubation process when a tube is inserted into a patient's mouth to help them breathe.

"The laryngoscope that we make is a steel part that basically goes down your throat so the doctor can guide tubes or see what they're doing."

He shared that the company has also brought on another ventilator part - one that was already in the works and just happened to launch in the midst of the pandemic.

"What we make is a heat exchanger plate so it's the base of a humidification chamber or oxygen chamber for a ventilator, so it's kind of the consumable piece of the ventilator that gets changed out patient to patient."

The heat exchange plate makes the oxygen breathable for a patient. Fagnant says the plan for the heat exchange plates is to produce 50,000 of them by the end of June.

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