#23: Ontario-based businesses and the innovation born as a result of COVID-19
The story behind the company.
Andrew Glover, co-owner and engineering manager: Harbour Technologies is a third-generation, family run company that started in 1972 — it was started by my father and grandfather. Ten years ago, my brother and I took over and rebranded. Harbour Technologies designs and builds custom machines and automation for several industries, including nuclear, automotive and aerospace. We do anything custom that requires multiple volumes; we do the full design, manufacturing and fabrication.
They’re made of polycarbonate and are almost like safety glasses. These shields are sleek.
Back in early March, just before restaurants closed, we started investigating the equipment needed to manufacture the filtration media used in N95. When we didn’t have enough face masks for our employees, my brother, David, and I decided to make PPE ourselves. Our research showed machines used to make PPE are generally from China. It would be hard to manufacture PPE if we bought equipment from China. So, we decided to design and build our own Canadian-made PPE machines. We’re now fully involved in all aspects of PPE automation. We have four N95 machines, including one for pleated face masks. We do surgical mask production and have the equipment to make Level 3 isolation surgical gowns. Our automotive background allows us to produce in high volume. One N95 machine will produce more than 9,000 masks each day. Prior to COVID-19, we never investigated getting licenced to manufacture surgical N95s.
We were positioned really well in the sense that we had engineering time, machines and build times. It was quite a pivot. We were later approached by a friend who wanted us to help him with his new brand called ATMIS Protective Equipment, which would get Canadian-made PPE to consumers. With ATMIS, we developed disposable masks for the public, the N95 and surgical masks. They’ve also designed a face shield called the ATMIS Sphere. They’re made of polycarbonate and are almost like safety glasses. These shields are sleek.
We’re still doing our regular day-to-day business — we’re building equipment. Some markets did slow down, but our defence orders picked up and nuclear is busy and strong. We’re one of the largest PPE custom equipment manufacturers in the country.