Waterdown company’s refrigerator-size tool triples life cycle of critical N95 masks

News Jun 26, 2020 by Sebastian Bron Hamilton Spectator

The alarm was sounded as early as March: Canada had a supply problem when it came to procuring N95 respirators.

Deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland likened the market for the disposable tight-fitting masks to the “Wild West.”

Nurses across Ontario pleaded with provincial officials to secure more and avoid a shortage crisis.

In April, global demand was so great that U.S. President Donald Trump blocked three million of them from entering Canada.

And just last week, a Hamilton researcher said he was short thousands of the mask whose efficacy he was meant to study.

The frenzy over personal protective equipment, as concerning as it was and still is, prompted a question from one Waterdown-based company: What if the solution wasn’t to secure more N95 respirators, but to use more of those we have — and safely?

Stryker, a medical technology company that supplies equipment to hospitals across the country, is one of a handful of manufacturers who were approved by Health Canada amid the pandemic to ship sanitization equipment out to front-line workers.

Using a production facility in Quebec, Stryker has shipped 56 sterilization units as far as British Columbia and the Yukon.

The units look like a refrigerator and can sanitize hundreds of N95 respirators an hour. They also triple the amount of time the masks — which double as filters for airborne particles — can safely be reused.

“We’re only at 70 per cent of our order (approved by Health Canada), and we plan on shipping to all seven provinces and three territories,” said Stryker president Scott MacNair.

While Stryker primarily produces surgical, orthopedic and neurotechnology equipment, MacNair said the company was inspired to diversify when federal and provincial governments called on the private sector to help with COVID-19 supplies.

The process of gaining Health Canada approval for a product can often take months, but it took about eight days for Stryker, MacNair said.

“Health Canada really accelerated looking for personal protection options during the pandemic,” MacNair said, noting the sterilizing units were approved in late April. “There was a lot of work being done to secure equipment for front-line workers, and we wanted to help out.”

With 26 units left to ship, MacNair said playing a role in extending the life cycle of a critical piece of equipment during the pandemic has been humbling for the company. The added bonus?

“It’s really great that it’s manufactured in Canada.”

Sebastian Bron is a Hamilton-based reporter at The Spectator. Reach him via email: sbron@thespec.com

Waterdown company’s refrigerator-size tool triples life cycle of critical N95 masks

Stryker is one of a handful of manufacturers who were approved by Health Canada amid the pandemic to ship sanitization equipment out to front-line workers

News Jun 26, 2020 by Sebastian Bron Hamilton Spectator

The alarm was sounded as early as March: Canada had a supply problem when it came to procuring N95 respirators.

Deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland likened the market for the disposable tight-fitting masks to the “Wild West.”

Nurses across Ontario pleaded with provincial officials to secure more and avoid a shortage crisis.

In April, global demand was so great that U.S. President Donald Trump blocked three million of them from entering Canada.

Related Content

And just last week, a Hamilton researcher said he was short thousands of the mask whose efficacy he was meant to study.

The frenzy over personal protective equipment, as concerning as it was and still is, prompted a question from one Waterdown-based company: What if the solution wasn’t to secure more N95 respirators, but to use more of those we have — and safely?

Stryker, a medical technology company that supplies equipment to hospitals across the country, is one of a handful of manufacturers who were approved by Health Canada amid the pandemic to ship sanitization equipment out to front-line workers.

Using a production facility in Quebec, Stryker has shipped 56 sterilization units as far as British Columbia and the Yukon.

The units look like a refrigerator and can sanitize hundreds of N95 respirators an hour. They also triple the amount of time the masks — which double as filters for airborne particles — can safely be reused.

“We’re only at 70 per cent of our order (approved by Health Canada), and we plan on shipping to all seven provinces and three territories,” said Stryker president Scott MacNair.

While Stryker primarily produces surgical, orthopedic and neurotechnology equipment, MacNair said the company was inspired to diversify when federal and provincial governments called on the private sector to help with COVID-19 supplies.

The process of gaining Health Canada approval for a product can often take months, but it took about eight days for Stryker, MacNair said.

“Health Canada really accelerated looking for personal protection options during the pandemic,” MacNair said, noting the sterilizing units were approved in late April. “There was a lot of work being done to secure equipment for front-line workers, and we wanted to help out.”

With 26 units left to ship, MacNair said playing a role in extending the life cycle of a critical piece of equipment during the pandemic has been humbling for the company. The added bonus?

“It’s really great that it’s manufactured in Canada.”

Sebastian Bron is a Hamilton-based reporter at The Spectator. Reach him via email: sbron@thespec.com

Waterdown company’s refrigerator-size tool triples life cycle of critical N95 masks

Stryker is one of a handful of manufacturers who were approved by Health Canada amid the pandemic to ship sanitization equipment out to front-line workers

News Jun 26, 2020 by Sebastian Bron Hamilton Spectator

The alarm was sounded as early as March: Canada had a supply problem when it came to procuring N95 respirators.

Deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland likened the market for the disposable tight-fitting masks to the “Wild West.”

Nurses across Ontario pleaded with provincial officials to secure more and avoid a shortage crisis.

In April, global demand was so great that U.S. President Donald Trump blocked three million of them from entering Canada.

Related Content

And just last week, a Hamilton researcher said he was short thousands of the mask whose efficacy he was meant to study.

The frenzy over personal protective equipment, as concerning as it was and still is, prompted a question from one Waterdown-based company: What if the solution wasn’t to secure more N95 respirators, but to use more of those we have — and safely?

Stryker, a medical technology company that supplies equipment to hospitals across the country, is one of a handful of manufacturers who were approved by Health Canada amid the pandemic to ship sanitization equipment out to front-line workers.

Using a production facility in Quebec, Stryker has shipped 56 sterilization units as far as British Columbia and the Yukon.

The units look like a refrigerator and can sanitize hundreds of N95 respirators an hour. They also triple the amount of time the masks — which double as filters for airborne particles — can safely be reused.

“We’re only at 70 per cent of our order (approved by Health Canada), and we plan on shipping to all seven provinces and three territories,” said Stryker president Scott MacNair.

While Stryker primarily produces surgical, orthopedic and neurotechnology equipment, MacNair said the company was inspired to diversify when federal and provincial governments called on the private sector to help with COVID-19 supplies.

The process of gaining Health Canada approval for a product can often take months, but it took about eight days for Stryker, MacNair said.

“Health Canada really accelerated looking for personal protection options during the pandemic,” MacNair said, noting the sterilizing units were approved in late April. “There was a lot of work being done to secure equipment for front-line workers, and we wanted to help out.”

With 26 units left to ship, MacNair said playing a role in extending the life cycle of a critical piece of equipment during the pandemic has been humbling for the company. The added bonus?

“It’s really great that it’s manufactured in Canada.”

Sebastian Bron is a Hamilton-based reporter at The Spectator. Reach him via email: sbron@thespec.com