Metro Vancouver firm gears up to make vital ventilator parts in COVID-19 fight

Metro Vancouver firm gears up to make vital ventilator parts in COVID-19 fight

Langley’s Simalex Manufacturing is handling big orders as demand surges

A Langley company is making thousands of parts for ventilators after receiving big orders from American firms producing the vital equipment in the fight to save COVID-19 patients.

Langley’s Simalex Manufacturing, based in Walnut Grove, has been in the die-casting business for years, making parts for a wide variety of machines. Though they’ve long made a component for ventilators, until recently it was a small part of their business, said director of business development Patrick Whelan.

“We were engaged by Ventec Life Systems… in 2015,” Whelan said. Ventec is based in Seattle.

Simalex makes a cover component for the ventilator out of die-cast steel.

Since 2015, they’ve made about 500 to 1,000 per year – just a day or two worth of work for the manufacturer.

Now they’re expecting to make as many as 6,000 in the next few weeks, with the possibility of more orders as General Motors and Ventec ramp up to make about 200,000 machines.

But ventilators are desperately needed to save critically ill patients. Ventilators are one of the most important medical devices required during the ongoing pandemic.

READ MORE: A call for donations to fight COVID-19 in Langley and elsewhere

On March 19, Ventec placed a new order for 3,000 parts. Then on Friday, March 27, General Motors, which is starting to produce ventilators, ordered another 2,800, said Whelan.

Simalex is one of many companies producing parts.

“It’s just one of 600 [parts] in the assembly,” Whelan noted of their component.

But they can make their components quickly.

“They chose our process because we can produce 500 parts per shift,” Whelan said.

After die-casting, the cover is put into a CNC machine that make necessary holes and cleans up the edges. The company can run 400 units through its CNC machines in a day.

With ventilator covers now a big part of the firm’s future business, they can scale up to meet demand quickly.

Simalex could make a tool to create two or four covers for each run of the machinery, noted Whelan.

“That 500 per shift could turn into 2,000 per shift if need be,” he said. CNC capacity can be upgraded as well.

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.

If the demand is great enough, they can also bring in more workers. There are about 25 people working at Simalex right now, working two shifts five days a week.

“In a pinch, we could go up to three shifts a day, seven days a week,” said Whelan.

BusinessCoronavirusHealthLangley

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alvin (left) and Theodore, seen here at the Chilliwack SPCA on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, are looking for their ‘furever’ home. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Theodore and Alvin at the Chilliwack SPCA

Don’t overlook senior pets when wanting to adopt an animal says Chilliwack SPCA branch manager

Emergency crews were called to an ATV rollover on Harrison East Forest Service Road on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (Google Maps)
Two people involved in ATV rollover 100 feet down ravine in Harrison, at least one injured

Incident happened shortly before 5 p.m. on Harrison East Forest Service Road

The City of Chilliwack is looking for proposals to install a piece of public art in this area in front of 46115 Yale Road as seen on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Artists sought for Five Corners public art project in downtown Chilliwack

Goal of project to increase foot traffic on street, animate Chilliwack’s historic downtown

sdf
Another Mission student arrested for assault, in 2nd case of in-school violence this week

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

Two people on a paddleboard take advantage of a calm Cultus Lake on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Forecast calls for lots of sun in Fraser Valley this coming week

Most of next seven days will be sunny for eastern Fraser Valley, according to Environment Canada

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read