While some businesses are shutting their doors, stopping production and laying off workers, The Hall Company in Urbana continues filling orders.
“We expected things to slow because the economy is down, but we’re not seeing that yet,” said Kyle Hall, president of the Urbana business.
About 70% of the parts made by the local company are for customers manufacturing medical equipment, such as CT scanners produced by GE Medical, Siemens Medical and Phillips Medical.
These scanners can be used to check abnormalities in lungs, so they are important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For years, The Hall Company has made safety sensors for CT scanners. Hall said Urbana Hospital uses a CT scanner made by GE Medical.
While orders for CT sensors continue as usual at The Hall Company, Gentherm Medical in Cincinnati last week had an unusual request when making its usual annual order for a couple thousand temperature controls for cooling systems. The controls are needed next month.
“They say they’re seeing a lot of demand in emergency rooms,” Hall said of the cooling systems found in emergency rooms throughout the country. He described the Gentherm product as a cooling system on wheels with a Hall Company control device that raises and lowers the temperature of blankets used in emergency rooms.
Hall said The Hall Company has heard from many customers as the coronavirus closed the doors of many businesses.
“A lot of customers reached out to us,” he said. “They say we’re essential.”
The company is not only hearing from customers for whom medical devices are made.
Illinois Tool Works (ITW) in Piqua manufactures food processing equipment for commercial kitchens throughout the country. The Hall Company makes replacement parts for that equipment.
“They told us we’re essential to the supply chain,” Hall said. “You don’t think about how connected we all are.”
Asked whether current staffing can handle regular production as well as Gentherm’s order wanted next month, Hall said employees are handling the situation.
“We didn’t take this situation lightly,” he said of the COVID-19 threat. “We are not requiring employees to come in. We asked for volunteers. Most of our staff volunteered.”
Hall said he appreciates employees’ willingness to work, but understands the decision of those choosing to stay home during the pandemic.
“We want to help the U.S. and help the supply chain, but employee safety is our number one priority,” he said. “We’re a family business. Without our employees, we have nothing.”
Employee breaks have been staggered so people are not in one place at the same time. The once-a-day cleaning routine now is done several times a day.
“We’ve redone the layout so we can space out, and some people work from home when possible,” Hall said. “We’ll all be in different rooms talking on the phone. We take temperatures each day and check it again a couple times a day.
“We’re trying to do what’s right for everybody,” he said. “We appreciate our employees and we appreciate the people on the front lines. We’re not on the front lines, but we’re trying to give the people on the front lines the tools they need.”
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937-1331, ext. 1773.