Aurora, Illinois-based Weldcoa is a supplier to companies that serve hospitals and medical centres with medical gases in the US.
Weldcoa President Hector Villarreal was surprised by one of the products in demand.
“We expected to see a demand in our Gas Delivery Carts and medical gas fill equipment,” Villarreal told gasworld.
“To our surprise, even though we did see a slight increase in Gas Delivery Carts, it was very short lived. For sure we saw a surge in orders for medical fill systems. Our customers took advantage of our modular design to add additional fill capacity to their existing systems. For the first 40 days of the crisis we were working around the clock to build and ship ‘add on medical fill racks’ along with some new control panels.
“But the huge uptick in orders was for our oldest product, pallets. It was a major surprise. We quickly realised that clients were buying oxygen cylinders in very high volumes and they needed more pallets to transport the cylinders. Once we realised that, our sales team began to coordinate with cylinder suppliers in order to time our pallet deliveries with the delivery of new cylinders. In some cases, I doubt very much that our customers were aware that we had been working with the cylinder suppliers to sync the deliveries.
“It’s not hyperbole to say that everyone in the supply chain was very focused on not dropping the ball. No one said it, but I think everyone was aware that lives were at stake.
“I was told by various clients that our carts and pallets were going to field hospitals and emergency centres, but I could not tell you with certainty where they were deployed.”
Weldcoa was able to build and ship quickly due to the company’s robotic welders.
“During a crisis getting product when you need it is more important than features and benefits,” Villarreal said.
“Our ability to turn product out quickly was the driver behind the orders that were placed. Every client that called us either said, ‘When can I get this?’ or said, ‘I need this no later than xxx.’ Thankfully, our investments in robotic welders gave us the ability to build and ship quickly. Early on it became very clear that every order was going to be time sensitive.
Other products from Weldcoa have also been deployed during the coronavirus crisis.
“Our flexible lead division struggled to keep up with the rush orders,” Villarreal added.
“Building the leads is a very quick process but the testing and oxygen cleaning processes take time and cannot be skipped. It was a challenge, but the team held tight and performed very well.”