The front line of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic isn't only being fought at the nation's hospitals. Businesses across the country have stepped up the production of vital medical equipment, and the Chandler Industries plant in Montevideo is doing its part.

The front line of the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t only being fought at the nation’s hospitals. Businesses across the country have stepped up the production of vital medical equipment, and the Chandler Industries plant in Montevideo is doing its part.

Chandler Industries, which has its headquarters in Minneapolis, produces precision machined ventilator components in Montevideo, Long Prairie, and Bethel. For the past 10 years, the Montevideo plant has produced critical components for a major ventilator manufacturer.

Due to the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19, Chandler Industries has increased production at their facilities in Long Prairie and Bethel to supplement the capacity of the Montevideo plant to meet the demand for ventilators.

Don Alter, President of Chandler Industries, described the ventilator parts which are produced at the Montevideo plants: “We supply the motor housing assembly and cover for the ventilator motor that drives the oxygen delivery to the patient. We also supply a manifold block that regulates and directs the flow of oxygen.”

According to Alter, the Montevideo plant is the primary source for the customer. “The other Chandler plants are supplying component parts to Montevideo fo final assembly, packing, and shipping to the customer,” he said.

Denise Bangsund, General Manager of Chandler’s Montevideo plant, said: “We are receiving orders for these critical products up to ten times our normal demand, and which will continue for the next four months or longer.”

Chandler’s Long Prairie plant has been working hard to help Montevideo with the increased demand. “We have ramped up production of one of the ventilator products to support the Montevideo team in record time,” said Brent Line, General Manager of Chandler’s Long Prairie Plant. We completed the process design and documentation, procured the new material, programmed our CNC machines and our Coordinate Measure­ment machine, and we were cutting chips in one week!”

Chandler’s Bethel plant began production of april 6 of another component in order to meet the need for ventilators. Alter said: “It is only through the collaboration of all of our Minnesota site teams that we are able to ramp up fast enough to meet our customer’s crucial need for our products. We are also working with a large electrical product company in Mexico to produce critical ventilator products at our plant in Chihuahua, Mexico.”

Many states have implemented shut downs of businesses, but because of its production of vital parts for ventilators, Chandlers will continue to remain open. “We are not only essential,” said Alter, “we have been classified as critical for these types of medical products.”

According to Alter, the federal government orders the complete ventilators from their customer, who then flows orders through their supply chain for the purchased components and sub-assemblies that go into the final assembly.

The production of these parts has been a total team effort. Tom Ryan, Chandler Industries CEO, said: “We are proud to support this critical need for medical products, and even more proud of all of our employees that have rallied around this cause and are outperforming even the best of expectations. We are not only keeping all of our employees working, we are actually hiring at these three locations that span the state of Minnesota!”

“There are currently 70 employees working at the Montevideo plant, and we are looking to add five or six employees there during this surge in orders,” added Alter.

Chandler Industries was founded in 1962 in Montevideo, MN. Since 2011 they have grown to additional manufacturing sites in Long Prairie, Bethel, Minneapolis, and Chihuahua Mexico. Chandler supports the medical, aerospace, defense, and industrial infrastructure markets. Their customers are international ‘blue chip” companies, with a high percentage being critical and essential as defined by the Defense Production Act. Chandler employs approximately 250 people in Minnesota and another 60 in Chihuahua. Employees have been trained over the past several years through the Minnesota DEED training grant program and thousands of hours of on-the-job and classroom training at all of the sites.