We're Open: Shawnee company provides ventilators, masks to hospitals

Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-09 13:18:16-04

SHAWNEE, Kan. — It has become a bidding war for some states to obtain ventilators to treat patients in the nationwide fight against the novel coronavirus. But one local company is doing what it can to supply a number of respiratory masks and parts for ventilators to its distributors.

Hans Rudolph started making respiratory products in Shawnee in 1938, and today the demand for its products is the most its officials have ever witnessed.

"Sales are probably up in the short term, hit probably four to five times,” said Kelly Rudolph, Hans Rudolph president.

The orders are coming in fast as hospitals around the globe are looking for supplies. Rudolph said some are quadrupling their orders and want it rushed. Rudolph told 41 Action News that in the past three to four weeks, they have shipped around 5,000 masks per day.

To keep up, the company had to increase supply and hire.

"We’ve added approximately five employees. We’ve added equipment. Everybody is working overtime. We’re working weekends and just meeting demand around the world,” Rudolph said.

There are about 50 employees at the company, and, since the outbreak, they’ve taken measures to keep themselves safe, as well as what they’re making.

"We’ve kept a safe distance rules in place from the beginning of it,” Rudolph said. “We’re checking temperatures, everybody spread out, like I said, safe distancing. They’re wearing masks.”

The demand for PPE and ventilators exists in Missouri, too. On Monday, Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Health Department, mentioned the need for ventilators.

"We purchased 220 ventilators and we have 123 in reserve,” Williams said. “As the governor said, we watched the number of ventilators and RC beds like a hawk. We see them every day we have about 2,000 ventilators in Missouri, and are approximately 150 hospitals and right now we have about 1,100 available. We also watch it very carefully by region.”

When the pandemic slows down, so too will demand for the products, but Rudolph said this risk is worth it to fill a crucial need for everybody.

"It’s tougher as a small businessman, family-owned business as far as finances and financing all the requirements,” Rudolph said, “because it does take a lot of cash flow to manage this, but we do have good bankers and we enjoy the challenge.”