LANSING–National Filters Inc., an industrial filter manufacturer located in Harbor Beach in Michigan’s Thumb, is retooling and purchasing new machinery to produce healthcare equipment critical to COVID-19 relief efforts with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced.
State support will help allow National Filters to purchase equipment necessary to increase surgical mask production from 250 per day to 7,200 masks per hour, and begin producing N95 respirators at the rate of 2,000 per hour. The company will also rehire 16 employees who had been previously laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“The decision by National Filters’ to retool and manufacture vital healthcare personal protection equipment will provide critical supplies in the fight against COVID-19 and builds on the Arsenal of Innovation taking place across Michigan,” said MEDC CEO Mark A. Burton. “We’re pleased to work with our local partners and support this project, and we commend the company for demonstrating resilience and ingenuity in helping to address this unprecedented public health crisis.”
Established in 1986 in Harbor Beach, National Filters manufactures hydraulic filter cartridges, compressor oil and air filters, fuel filters, dust collection filters and more. Earlier this year, National Filters completed a 20,000-square-foot expansion at its existing plant. The company employs 36 full-time people, but recently had to downsize during the COVID-19 virus.
The Michigan Strategic Fund is providing $196,625 in collateral support through MEDC’s Collateral Support program that will serve to secure the company’s bank loan. Tri-County Bank of Brown City will provide a line of credit to National Filters to secure the additional machines to allow for the production of the equipment. National Filters is in discussion with medical facilities in the Thumb and across Michigan for distribution of the equipment, once production is underway.
“National Filters is proud to announce the addition of surgical masks and N95 respirators to our manufacturing portfolio which will help stop the spread of COVID-19. We will begin to manufacture these materials at our facility in Harbor Beach next month,” said National Filters President Todd Raines. “These masks and respirators are desperately needed by medical professionals and first responders across Michigan. We are grateful for the support we have received from the Huron EDC, Tri-County Bank and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which helped us in the acquisition of the equipment to escalate domestic production during this crisis.”
Added Tri-County Bank vice president Fred Manuilow: “When we were approached by our customer, National Filters, about purchasing equipment to start manufacturing surgical and N95 masks, we felt it was our patriotic duty to do so. The MEDC stepped in offering assistance with their MSF Collateral Support Program, allowing this loan to be done without capital injection by the borrower. And in this time of crisis, our borrowers need all the capital they can get. The MEDC couldn’t have made the process any easier, or faster. It was absolutely amazing to be a part of this process and experience the MEDC’s commitment to Michigan businesses.”
The Huron County Economic Development Corp. worked with National Filters to assist in finding solutions in light of the COVID-19 crisis and connected the company to MEDC for support.
“What National Filter is doing is a reflection of our national drive to meet the needs of our healthcare workers and the community,” said Huron County EDC Director Carl Osentoski. “I would like to compliment everyone on their flexibility and the speed at which they reacted to the situation.”
The Access to Capital programs can provide greater availability of working capital during times of growth, change or economic uncertainty. As small and medium-sized businesses across the state are negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, existing programs with Capital Access provide opportunities to access financing that may not otherwise be available. Any business that has been affected by COVID-19 is eligible to receive support through the Collateral Support and Loan Participation programs. To learn more, visit https://www.michiganbusiness.org/services/access-capital/.
The National Filter announcement is just one example of the type of support that is available through the MEDC and the state’s small business support organizations for small businesses, startups, entrepreneurs and communities throughout the state. Other resources for businesses across Michigan to assist them in recovering from economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19. This site includes resources offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration including emergency loans, the Pure Michigan Business Connect virtual procurement and donation platform, support services offered through the Small Business Development Center and more. The MEDC has also developed a FAQ for Michigan businesses and communities at michiganbusiness.org/covid19-faq.
For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 535-6136 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily.