WINDSOR, ONT. -- Sixty per cent of local manufacturing companies surveyed plan to continue the production of medical materials or related services post COVID-19 pandemic.

The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation surveyed 52 Windsor-Essex companies that had expressed interest or were currently involved in COVID-19 related projects.

"WE EDC’s Business Retention and Expansion team has been working to support and connect the many Windsor-Essex companies who are reshaping their operations to produce COVID-19 related items,"  Wendy Stark, manager of business retention and expansion said in a news release. "It has been heartening to see evidence, yet again, of our region’s ability to work together, to design and produce what is needed in times of crisis and uncertainty,"

A news release from WE EDC and Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing says local many manufacturers that have “pivoted” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vista Solutions is one of those that shifted gears by adapting its knowledge of thermal technologies, which is commonly used in the production of electrified vehicles, to measure skin temperature.

“Our Elevated Skin Temperature Monitoring system is contactless, non-invasive and can be used to detect persons with elevated body temperature and can screen for potential illness in a variety of workplaces including large manufacturing facilities or institutional environments like hospitals,” said Vista Solutions technical sales engineer Eric Parker. “This type of technology will play a critical role in ensuring employees’ and visitors' health and safety during the recovery period.”

Other companies have shifted production away from automotive parts, molds, and other traditional products toward medical devices, personal protective equipment, and hand sanitizer. While others have adapted manufacturing technologies for use in healthcare.

Of those surveyed, more than 60 per cent noted they were directly supplying local needs, and 60 per cent plan to continue the production of medical products, materials or provide related services post the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Local manufacturers have also noted an increased spirit of collaboration in the region and throughout the province leading to additional capabilities and creative solutions to the challenges arising from COVID-19,” the release states.