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Prefix providing PPE for medical workers

by Patrick Rall on

Under the guidelines of the Defense Production Act, Metro Detroit-based Prefix has taken a break from producing go fast parts for the Dodge Viper, transitioning the efforts of their workers to producing plastic shield and cloth masks for first responders, medical workers and other people battling the Covid-19 pandemic from the front lines.

While FCA, Ford Motor Company and General Motors have all been recognized for their efforts in production personal protection equipment (PPE), but auto industry suppliers are getting involved as well and Prefix is a great example.

Prefix PPE Efforts

Back on March 22nd, Prefix announced on the company Facebook page that their interior time team had begun “sewing hundreds of protective masks for our health care workers”, sharing a picture of the pink marks that they were producing.

On March 26th, the company announced that another portion of their team had begun making the hard protective face shields used by all sorts of healthcare workers right now. Along with the masks shown above, these shields are among the most-needed item in medical facilities around the world today. They also included a picture of an ambulance taking delivery of some of the masks.

On March 27th, the company issued a formal press release detailing what they were doing to help out during these troubled times.

“We can do this!” exclaimed Prefix Founder, Kim Zeile. Zeile, who founded the Rochester Hills based company over 40 years ago. “During times like these, we must all ask ourselves, how we can assist our community, help our neighbors, and make a positive difference for others.”

Prefix is one of the country’s most highly-regarded companies for the creation of prototypes, concept vehicles, and design mock-ups, but earlier this week they re-tooled, purchased over 6000lbs of required materials, and engineered a design for protective face shields. The shields are now being used by area first responders and heath care workers, and staff members at Prefix are working as fast as they can to meet the current demand.

The process requires, engineering, tooling, stamping, water-jet cutting and assembly. All capabilities found under one roof at Prefix. “The first responders we initially spoke with asked for something durable enough to be used for a longer period of time.” explained Zeile. “So… we engineered a model that is heavier duty, and longer lasting. Our team is proud of what we were able to design, in such a short time. Never in my 40 years of operating Prefix would I have believe that we would be involved in such a uncertain world. I am just happy to respond with something that helps our community, and helps our employees to realize what a difference we can make, regardless of the challenge.
Prefix will continue to produce the shields as long as there is such a crucial demand, and they can obtain the required resources. “

That was followed on March 28th by the announcement that in just a few days, more than 1,500 of the shields had been produced and on April 1st, the company announced that they were packaging around a thousand of the shields each day.

“Please pass the word along to any First-Responders and/or Healthcare Workers you know. Have them send an inquiry to [email protected] and we will get them the information ASAP”

Finally, on April 7th, the Henry Ford Village Senior Living facility thanked Prefix for their donation of protective masks, illustrating the speed with which the automotive fabricator best-known in the Mopar world for painting the Gen V Viper was able to get up to speed with producing medical needs. In roughly two and a half weeks, Prefix went from posting on Facebook that the company would start producing marks to not only delivering those masks, but also producing and delivering hard shields.

Images: Prefix

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.

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