Cavalier Tool lending a hand building sanitizer dispensers

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell


Cavalier Tool and Manufacturing is literally lending a hand to produce needed medical supplies by helping an Ontario company ramp up production of commercial hand sanitizers in record time.

“We put our name forward like about 75 per cent of the shops in the sector and our name was linked up with this company in the data base to fast-build hand sanitizers,” said Cavalier sales manager Tim Galbraith.

“They can’t meet the demands and they need tools ASAP because they have backorders and we became an outlet for them.

“Our plan is to have the thing completed and tested in two weeks.”

The Windsor-based firm normally produces tools and moulds for much larger equipment for the automotive industry.

Instead up to a dozen people over the two weeks will focus on designing, manufacturing and testing the tools and moulds needed to build the wall-mounted hand sanitizers.

That process normally takes eight to 10 weeks.

“The sanitizer is about the size of a shoe box and is meant for commercial and institutional use,” Galbraith said.

“We’ve done a few smaller sized projects and a few medical projects, but we’ve never done anything this small and for the medical sector.”

Nor Cavalier done anything this fast, not even in a business notorious for its high-pressure and tight deadlines.

After hearing from the company at 4 p.m. last Thursday, Cavalier had kicked off the new program internally by 10 a.m. Friday.

“We had to get data, paper work and the scope of work, which the company was very good at providing,” Galbraith said.

“We dispatched one of our people to drive to the plant to pick up some samples and bring them back. He got back here after supper and we distributed them to our design team who are all working from home.”

Cavalier’s design team worked through the weekend with their counterparts at the hand sanitizing company.

“There has been some tweaking by the manufacturer, but we’ve got materials on order and we started building them (Tuesday),” Galbraith said.

“Normal time from tool kick off to getting approval (to start building) is a couple weeks and we did that in a couple days.”

Cavalier will build three injection moulds for the company to use to make the plastic components needed to build the sanitizers.

Galbraith said pivoting quickly to make the tools and moulds for hand sanitizers wasn’t particularly challenging for such a high-tech firm, but the process certainly has been.

“It’s not a complex program,” Galbraith said.

“The complexity is circumventing the existing system of manufacturing that takes weeks. It’s happening in days.

“There’s a lot of things that have to happen simultaneously that normally would happen one step after another.”

Galbraith also emphasized what’s happening at Cavalier is happening all across Windsor-Essex as companies step up to try and fill the gaps in the medical supply chain.

“In Windsor right now, there’s a whole bunch going on,” Galbraith said. “We’re not special.

“This is just one that’s been brought to fruition.”

Galbraith said Cavalier is prepared to do more and is involved in discussion on other projects.

We’re not treating it as an opportunity; it’s an obligation to the community,” Galbraith said.

“If we need to change from making automobiles to making surgical masks, that’s what we’ll do. We’ll go back to automobiles later.”