Hy-Capacity switches gears

Hy-Capacity switches gears Main Photo

7 May 2020

Kelby Wingert

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States earlier this spring, the leaders at Hy-Capacity Tractor Parts in Humboldt wanted to know what they could do to help.

Molly Varangkounh, president of Hy-Capacity, said they had seen posts on social media about hospitals facing a shortage of personal protective equipment like face masks. She then reached out to administrators at Humboldt County Memorial Hospital to see if they could help supply them with some PPE.

Though Hy-Capacity sells tractor parts, it also has a sewing department that makes tractor seats.

At the time, Varangkounh said, the hospital said it had an adequate supply of PPE. But a few weeks later, they called back and Hy-Capacity got started making masks.

“We made a few samples, but we were struggling with what to use for a nose piece,” Varangkounh said. “It needed to be flexible, washable and be something we could somehow sew in place.”

They tried pipe cleaners, paper clips and looked online for more ideas. Then Plant Manager Steve Staples found a solution — he reached out to Walt Jensen of Jensen Trailers, who created nose pieces using aluminum.

“It took a little bit of time to get some of the materials needed because it’s not our normal stuff,” Varangkounh said. “We had to get some fabric on order. We used our local craft supply store to get some things.”

Over the past month, the sewing department at Hy-Capacity has sewed hundreds of masks, Varangkounh said. They’ve recently started sewing hospital gowns after a request from HCMH.

Full article.
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