As COVID-19 continues to spread far and wide, Teel Plastics has risen to the pandemic challenge in an unprecedented way. The custom profile and tubing manufacturer based in Baraboo, Wisc., has quickly become one of the nation’s largest and most reliable suppliers of swab sticks for COVID testing. Since March 2020, the company has produced over 500 million swab sticks for U.S.-based customers. Thanks to a recent contract from the U.S. Department of Defense, Teel will boost production in 2021 by adding 66 million extruded and 50 million injected molded swab sticks each month. The company recently installed two Davis-Standard extrusion lines to support the increased capacity. In addition, Teel has been selected to manufacture profiles for a proprietary respirator device used to treat patients in critical care for COVID. These profiles will also be produced on Davis-Standard lines, including a new custom line.
“Before the pandemic began, we were the only U.S. company to make diagnostic swabs needed for coronavirus testing,” said Christian Herrild, director of growth strategies for Teel Plastics. “This required us to react quickly to support the surge in test kits. Our development style, product repeatability, and ability to navigate highly regulated markets have been key to our response. Our dedicated employees have done what is necessary to meet very tight timelines, including taking on additional shifts. Our large manufacturing and engineering teams, chemists and analytical lab are definitely a differentiator for us.”
Herrild continued, “We’ve also been able to rely on our relationship with Davis-Standard. We needed to boost production capacity and Davis-Standard responded to our extrusion needs in record time. They provided us with a demo line almost immediately and two additional lines within 10 weeks from order to delivery. Knowing we can go to them as a reliable resource, whether that be asking a question or troubleshooting, has been especially important during this time. It is also convenient to have one point of contact for pre-and post-engineering service and support.”
Teel is a longtime Davis-Standard customer with more than 30 Davis-Standard extrusion lines, some dating back to the 1980s. The newly installed profile lines, extruders through downstream, are application-specific with controls, feedscrews, and machinery customized for Teel’s swab stick process. Davis-Standard has supplied Teel with extruders and associated machinery in various models over the years for manufacturing tight-tolerance tubing and profiles in different sizes. These machines process a range of materials including high temperature, water sensitive and custom blended resins for products in the medical, cosmetics, industrial piping, film core and water treatment industries. Davis-Standard has also addressed cleanroom requirements since Teel is a class 100,000 cleanroom capable business.
“Davis-Standard’s prompt response whenever we need something has helped us be successful. We also know that our Davis-Standard’s equipment will last,” said Herrild. “Our oldest machines are going strong with an occasional oil change and part replacement. You can’t beat that!”