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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Ames solar company adapts to pandemic, shifts to making face shields

Businesses around the country are changing their normal routine to make it through and help out during the pandemic.

AMES, Iowa — The coronavirus is forcing businesses to adapt like never before.

That includes even changing the products they make.

An Ames business is switching things up and helping out health care workers in the process.

"Business is down for everybody," said Brad Scandrett, Vice President of Engineering at PowerFilm Solar. "We ship out $20,000-$100,000 worth of product a couple times a week, but now we're doing like 25-30 orders that were a $100."

That means production has really slowed down. 

"The machine was only busy 20% of the time, so I had 80% of the time where I was like 'We could die cut out shields'," Scandrett said. 

So PowerFilm Solar got creative. 

"We shipped like 4,000 on [April 3] and we've just been cranking them out since then."

The solar company started making face shields and began selling them to hospitals and nursing homes across Iowa. 

With a focus on selling locally, PowerFilm has been pumping them out. 

The only problem? Getting enough plastic. 

"That's been the hardest part, is the entire country is cleaned out," Scandrett said. 

But as long as the materials are available, the company will keep selling cheap face masks across the region. 

"I wanted to get the stuff to the people as quick as we can just to help."

Scandrett tells Local 5 they've shipped somewhere around 25,000-35,000 face shields.

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