For the last two weeks US second-generation retest company AirGenics has been working around the clock to convert inert gas cylinders into medical oxygen cylinders to meet the soaring demands for oxygen needed to treat coronavirus patients.
The US now has more confirmed cases of coronavirus than any other country, with more than 86,000 positive tests.
AirGenics’ Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Balbi said the current pandemic has stretched the country’s medical care abilities to breaking point.
Hoping to make a difference and help to save lives in the US, AirGenics has been converting 400 cylinders a day into medical oxygen.
“We have been ensuring that any customer who needs medical oxygen cylinders to fill gets them immediately, even before they know they are going to need that many in most cases,” Balbi told gasworld.
“Before lockdown began on Friday 13th March, I personally texted and called every shop manager, distribution manager and owner of every customer we work for.”
“The customers who were clearly going to be in need of medical gases were told they were priority customers and to expect us on site to do pick ups if they would need them.”
“Customers who are in non-essential sectors were told that the current lead time would be increased by 50% to accommodate an influx of medical cylinders for emergency care.”
“The other owner and my partner Caroline did inventory estimates and placed advanced orders for what we were expecting to need to handle this work, along with drafting letters for essential personal, contacting Office of Emergency Management in the counties that we do business and acquiring additional PPE for the employees.”
“While also adjusting the employee work schedule so that less people were working together at any single time to ensure social distancing.”
It’s not a quick and easy process to convert the cylinders, it takes time, and Balbi said he is exceptionally proud of all the guys he works with.
“Nobody here has taken a break in two weeks because these deliveries are going to hopefully save lives,” he said.
“It is work that must be done, hospitals and emergency care locations need medical oxygen, and although oxygen can be produced in abundance at ASU plants, getting the gas to the customer requires a cylinder and so this is what we will do.”
Located in Newark, New Jersey, AirGenics has been a leader in refurbishing cylinders for the packaged gas industry for 25 years.