OptiPro is built on strong relationships and solid community connections. When our community was struck by the pandemic, our efforts shifted from normal operations to helping in any way we could.
At first, we started donating extra Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to local nursing homes and hospitals, including liquid squeeze bottles for hand sanitizer. Our team knew we could contribute more and when an OptiPro employee came forward to explain the dire need for face shields at nursing homes, we knew what our next step would be.
PACTIV, a local Rochester company, donated polyester PET film for face shields while we worked on the design with Mastercam software. With the nesting feature we were able to maximize the number of shields on a defined area and we were able to cut hundreds at a time with the waterjet. Once they were cut, employees wiped them clean and sent them off.
After donating over 1,200 to a local nursing home, several more nursing homes and organizations that needed face shields approached us. Our team was happy to oblige and worked to produce anywhere from 500 – 800 shields at a time. Sales manager, Lynda Bechtold, commented, “We are happy that we can help with the safety of the healthcare workers, especially the aides who are taking care of our elderly who are not able to have visits from family.”
While we continued to produce face shields, our team continued to look for more ways to help those on the front lines. We found out the safety glasses we had donated at the beginning of the pandemic were helpful, but more were needed. Mike Bechtold, OptiPro’s president, reached out to his brother’s business Harbec, a custom injection mold company, about partnering up to manufacture more glasses. Harbec was on board for the project and agreed to handle the injection process as we took lead on the mold.
When considering how to create the mold, our team looked to Vince Cannarozzo, OptiPro’s Mastercam Technical Sales Associate. Years prior, Cannarozzo had worked in the mold-making industry before moving into sales and was happy to take lead.
“I started looking for design I like and could modify to fit what we were searching for. I reached out to Rocco Pizzarello, a former colleague from Century Mold as well as, Steve Gerrard, a Mitsubishi tool vendor for help on the project.” Cannarozzo continued to say that everyone was helpful and ready to contribute their time for the project.
Discussions between Pizzarello and Cannarozzo lead to the decision to use 420 Stainless Steel for the mold. It was then up to Rick Fox, Harbec’s mold shop leader, to supply the mold base and help with assembly and set up in the molding machine. From there, it was onto programming with help from Brandon George, OptiPros’ Mastercam Technician. Both Cannarozzo and George agreed that OptiRough, OptiRest and Constant Scallop for finishing would shape out the four blocks needed in under 50 hours.
As promising as the project was, the team still had concerns. In order to certify the glasses and send them off to medical staff, they needed to hold up to select standards. Cannarozzo commented, “The first test is to put glasses under polarized light which highlights the stress of the plastic. The more stress, the more the plastic looks like a rainbow.” The test results proved surprising. The OptiPro-Harbec glasses outperformed glasses currently on the market. Once production is up and running, we are hoping to produce 1,000 safety glasses to send out. Our OptiPro team could not be prouder of its’ efforts in helping their community!