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Paint spray booth manufacturer turns attention to producing Covid-19 testing booths

‘Our company is well versed in innovation, and we possess agile manufacturing processes that allow for easy product customizations. This led us to research ideas to help fight the Covid-19 crisis’ — Debbie Teter, Garmat USA

Englewood, Colo.—As the coronavirus pandemic ensues, manufacturers are turning their factories into medical device fabricators. Garmat USA, in Englewood, Colo., is joining the fight to help stop the Covid-19 pandemic with an innovation that protects medical providers while saving PPE.

The COVID-19 Walk-Up Testing Booth

“We’re leveraging our expertise to support the battle against the coronavirus with the development of the COVID-19 Walk-Up Testing Booth,” said Debbie Teter, director of marketing and sales for Garmat USA, a manufacturer of paint spray booths and refinishing equipment.

“Our company is well versed in innovation, and we possess agile manufacturing processes that allow for easy product customizations. This led us to research ideas to help fight the Covid-19 crisis.

“Johan Huwaert, our CEO and general manager, has the mindset of an engineer and can really grab onto these ideas. Once he had the idea, he immediately contacted our fabricator and set about designing it. He has a passion to solve problems — and that’s what we do — we solve problems.”

This solution, she added, saves PPE and protects the provider while providing a more efficient way to test masses of individuals.

While countries such as South Korea have used walk-up booths outside hospitals and testing areas, they had one drawback — they still required a full disinfection process after each patient, Teter said.

“We added a positive pressure — like in a paint booth — to push the air out, which has differentiated our product.”

Other notable features include its steel construction for increased durability that allows for testing more people, and using glass instead of plexiglass. “It’s really a clean room with dry-box gloves, but instead of the gloves going in, they’re coming out.”

Teter said she reached out to an emergency room nurse at Brigham & Women’s hospital in Boston, which designed a three-sided plexiglass version. It was an improvement over the South Korea booth, as it placed the healthcare provider inside, minimizing the surface area and time required for disinfection. 

“However, she said she still needs to suit-up in PPE, and she loved the idea of having positive pressure pushing the virus away from them in a fully enclosed space.”

The core of Garmat’s business is providing a clean environment through containment, which includes expertise in airflow and differential pressure, Teter said. “This product was developed from start to finish in less than six days, and we know that getting it out the door is critical, so we focused all of our attention on the development.

“There’s been a lot of interest and we’re continuing to make modifications with continuous input from medical professionals. We are concerned about the spread of this virus and would like to do what we can to help keep our families and communities safe.

“We know stopping the spread is key, and protection for the medical provider is paramount.”  

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