Vehicle Safety Retailers Switch Gears to Build PPE

Safety PPE

The Vision Zero Automotive Network exists to promote vehicle safety around North America. We work to achieve this goal by highlighting products and solutions that make driving safer. It’s now early in 2020, and we’ve found ourselves in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our retailers have begun building face shields and ear savers for face masks to help frontline emergency and medical workers take care of those who need help.

50,000 Face Shields

Safety PPEIn mid-March, Jeremy Katz and Evan Collins of JK Automotive Designs in Stoneham, Massachusetts, started this project. Jeremy had seen a 3D-printable design for a face shield frame on Facebook. Wanting to help the medical and emergency staff around Boston, he downloaded the file and set his printer to work. Just as the print started, he realized that the task would take several hours to complete. Jeremy wanted to make as many shields as he could and was frustrated with the thought of the frame taking hours to print. He worked with Evan to design a new shield frame that could be built faster. After a few revisions, they had a design that could be cut on their CNC laser in a few minutes.

Fast-forward several weeks, and Jeremy and Evan’s design has spearheaded a movement across the North American car audio industry. More than a dozen retailers have stepped up to cut shields, and dozens more are assembling them and delivering to hospitals. Several mobile electronics manufacturers have also offered to help to cover material and shipping costs. So far, less than a month into the project, more than 50,000 shields have been built and are in the hands of doctors, nurses, police offices, EMTs and firefighters from Alaska to Boston, Florida and California and throughout Canada. JK Automotive Designs has a GoFundMe campaign running to help cover the cost of materials.

One-Man Mask Making Machine

John Schwartz, owner of Perfectionist Auto Sound and Security in Anchorage, Alaska, got on board with the program early. John has a strong social media following and was definitely responsible for rallying other retailers to help. John’s store is still open, taking care of essential automotive and safety needs, while he focuses on his goal of cutting and assembling 1,000 masks by hand. John doesn’t have a big CNC laser, but it’s enough to cut the frames quickly. He’s trimming each face shield by hand on the shop’s bench-mounted router.

Creativity Breeds Efficiency

Safety PPEGary Bell owns Define Concepts in Orange, California. Gary is another highly respected fabricator in the mobile enhancement industry. He modified Jeremy’s design to allow it to work without the need for clips or zip ties. Fewer parts means more resources available for valuable and hard-to-find materials. Gary also has a GoFundMe campaign running so that all the shields can be donated to frontline staff at no cost, just like the other shops involved.

Another industry business helping with shield production is Mobile Solutions in Tempe, Arizona. Owner Bryan Schmitt offers fabrication training to car audio and hot rod shops around the world. His facility has several CNC lasers and routers. Though he isn’t offering training, the company continues to ship fabrication supplies, router bits and tools to clients across the country. When they aren’t shipping, the team is assembling face shields.

Dozens of amazing shops around North America are making shields. If you can spare even a few dollars, see if a mobile enhancement retailer near you is part of the project and consider making a small donation. We tip our hats to everyone involved and thank them for their contribution to making the world a safer place. Here’s a partial list of mobile enhancement retailers that have been building and distributing shields:

Avant Garde Design  – Palm City, Florida

Automotive Entertainment Huntington Beach  – Huntington Beach, California

Audio One Electronics  – Niagara Falls, New York

Audio Express of San Antonio  – San Antonio Texas

Auto Additions  – Springfield, Illinois

Absolute Electronix  – Rockville, Maryland

Atlas IED  – Phoenix, Arizona

Brooklyn Car Audio  – New York, New York

Certified Autosound and Security  – Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Certified Radio  – Edmonton, Alberta

Devine Concepts  – Naples, Florida

Divine 1 Customs  – Las Vegas, Nevada

Extreme Audio  – Mechanicsville/Midlothian, Virginia

Handcrafted Car Audio  – Chandler, Arizona

JML Audio  – St. Louis, Missouri

KarTele Mobile Electronics  – Waterbury, Connecticut

Liquid Trends  – Modesto, California

Mobile Electronics  – Wallingford, Connecticut

Mobile Solutions  – Tempe, Arizona

MTI Acoustics  – Bryan, Texas

NVS Audio  – Roselle, New Jersey

Perfectionist Auto Sound & Security  – Anchorage, Alaska

Pinnacle Autosound – Lake City, Florida

Recovery Room Interiors  – Omaha, Nebraska

Security and Sound Systems  – Honolulu, Hawaii

Signature Audio  – Scottsdale, Arizona

Speed of Sound Technologies  – Milford, Connecticut

Speed of Sound LLC – Memphis, Tennessee

Sound Wave Customs – Virginia Beach, Virginia

Sunshades Tint & Sound – Austin, Texas

SoundFX – West Warwick/East Providence, Rhode Island

SoundFX Car Audio – Lewes/Bridgeville, Delaware

Soundz Plus  – Naperville, Illinois

The Audio Edge  – Nederland, Texas

The Car Audio Shop – High Ridge, Missouri

Tri State Auto  – Southaven, Mississippi

We hope that everyone is doing their best to stay safe during this unprecedented time.