By: The Working Forest Staff
CAMBRIDGE ― The Ontario government is providing Cambridge-based Eclipse Innovations Inc. with $1,408,475 from the Ontario Together Fund to scale up its operations to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 masks. These masks are an essential piece of personal protective equipment (PPE) used to protect workers in healthcare and industrial settings. This investment is part of the government’s plan to increase the capacity of Ontario-made PPE, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province.
The announcement was made today at the company’s facility by Premier Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“As part of our government’s made-in-Ontario plan for renewal, growth, and recovery, we are actively working with local companies to manufacture the critical PPE we need to protect our frontline workers today and well into the future,” said Premier Ford. “We have the most talented and innovative people anywhere to make the highest quality products in the world. Ontario is the manufacturing powerhouse of Canada and we encourage everyone to buy local to help our businesses and factories get back on their feet.”
Today also marked the beginning of the Premier’s tour to acknowledge and thank strong local businesses and exceptional individuals across the province who have stepped up to help out during the outbreak of COVID-19. Over the coming months, Premier Ford will visit a number of communities to recognize those who have gone above and beyond, hear ideas from the people on how the government can help them succeed in the new environment, and support made-in-Ontario products as a key part of the province’s path to recovery.
“As our government continues to move forward with the gradual and safe reopening of our economy, we have been working closely with our business community to mobilize Ontario’s manufacturing and innovation might,” said Minister Fedeli. “Businesses like Eclipse Innovations have stepped up with solutions to help at a critical time. Together with our entrepreneurs and innovators, we will ensure Ontario has the factories, plants, and assembly lines to respond to any future crisis, should the need ever arise.”
With Ontario’s support, Eclipse Innovations will create the capacity to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 respirators, enabling it to bring a qualified, domestically produced N95 respirator to market. N95 respirators filter 95 percent of airborne particles, making it highly effective in protecting the wearer from airborne pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria that could damage the respiratory tract. By adding this new capacity, Eclipse Innovations will be able to make one million N95 respirators per week, which will help serve domestic market demand to ensure a safe reopening of the economy and combat COVID-19 safely and effectively.
Eclipse Innovations Inc. is a Cambridge-based company established in April 2020 as an affiliate of Eclipse Automation Inc., a leading manufacturer of custom automated equipment for the life sciences, energy, transportation, consumer, industrial and electronics industries. Eclipse Automation has 450 Ontario-based employees and this project will include the creation of 17 new permanent full-time jobs at its affiliate company, Eclipse Innovations.
“Eclipse is a company that does not stand still, especially at a critical time like now. We are nimble and ready to take action, and that’s exactly what we did when we established Eclipse Innovations,” said Steve Mai, CEO of Eclipse Innovations Inc. “We are pleased to work with the Ontario government to begin manufacturing respirators as soon as possible. By working in partnership, we can rapidly create automation systems to support the design, assemble these important medical supplies and pave the way for a domestically produced N95 respirator.”
When the outbreak of COVID-19 hit, Eclipse quickly pivoted its business and collaborated with global players IREMA and Harmontronics to create a solution to design, produce and distribute N95 respirators for the domestic market. This investment will also allow Eclipse to develop a range of different mask sizes and styles, such as horizontal and vertical fold, providing multiple options for an optimal fit. This is important because, for a N95 respirator to work effectively, it must properly fit the face of the wearer.
Eclipse also has a partnership with Conestoga College for the development of a N95 predictive fit testing software using facial scanning technology.
- The government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations. Since its launch in April, six other companies, in addition to Eclipse, have received support from the Ontario Together Fund: Virox Technologies, Southmedic, SRB Technologies, Sterling Industries, CSA Group Testing & Certification, and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.
- Since its launch, the Ontario Together web portal has received more than 28,000 submissions. More than 18,000 emergency supplies leads have been converted into $662 million in purchases of critical supplies and equipment to support staff on the front lines, including 26 million gowns, 177 million gloves, 123 million masks, and over 4 million face shields. Over 6,900 ideas have been submitted through the portal on how to address the COVID-19 outbreak, including offers from businesses to retool their operations to make critical supplies or to deliver needed goods or services.
- The Ontario Together web portal is also accepting technology-driven solutions and services to help businesses reopen safely and to strengthen interprovincial trade and supply chains.
- The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory provides businesses with information on PPE suppliers.