In response to a community plea for personal protective equipment (PPE) for first responders and front line health care workers, Thayer Corporation, a local company specializing in HVAC solutions, answered the call in the typical Maine “can-do” way.
• Thayer was able to design and build a mobile PPE sterilization solution capable of processing 1000-3000 items per day.
• Two independent methods were used; oxidation and thermal remediation
• The unit was tested and ready for deployment on April 15, 2020
• Thankfully there has been no demand for the service although publicized indicating supplies of new PPE appears to be easing.
April 28th 2020, Auburn, Maine –
At the height of the COVID-19 outbreak in Maine several hospitals commissioned experts at the University of Maine to investigate and recommend practical and immediate methods to sterilize PPE for reuse. Simultaneously engineers at Thayer Corporation, a thirty-nine year old design/build/maintain HVAC and building automation company, were helping several of their hospital clients explore the same need, to sterilize PPE. Using their extensive experience in precision agriculture and biomed applications the Thayer Team designed a mobile unit capable of sterilizing 1000-3000 items of PPE per day. The UMaine Team recommended Thayer’s approach after studying the means and methods of the mobile unit designed. Rapid prototypes were fabricated and tested successfully at the Advanced Manufacturing Center in Orono, Maine immediately followed by construction of the operational, full-scale mobile unit. To date there has been no demand for the service. According to President and project engineer Dan Thayer, P.E., “this was one of the most meaningful projects we have ever tackled”. Thankfully the PPE shortage in Maine has subsided and there is little demand in the State. We are so incredibly proud of our Team. Not only does the performance exceed the design parameters but the quality of the workmanship and speed of production was unparalleled in our 39-year history. It’s the best project that failed financially”, says Thayer jokingly. Other markets have expressed interest in the mobile unit but for now remains on “stand-by” in Maine.
“The unselfishness, openness and collaboration of all involved with the project is a testament to the “can do” Maine spirit that characterizes our State. We are proud to be able to make a small contribution to the many on the front line providers in this COVID-19 pandemic. We will be offering this know-how to the many thousands of buildings needing to be made safe before reopening. Senator Nate Libby and the Team at UMaine cleared many obstacles and made our work much easier” opines Thayer.