Responding to the Need – PPE for the COVID-19 Pandemic

Responding to the Need – PPE for the COVID-19 Pandemic

We can’t express enough gratitude to all of the healthcare professionals working so hard to care for us in a great time of need! As hospitals have struggled to get the protective equipment needed for their healthcare providers, we partnered with local companies Fabri-Kal, Schupan & Sons, and Southwest Michigan First to make face shields.

Bronson Healthcare requested support from Southwest Michigan First to acquire additional Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). With input from health care professionals, our companies were able to collaborate and adapt a concept design provided by Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI) consortium in less than one week.

Each organization leveraged its specialty in the project. Fabri-Kal formed and cut the plastic shields then handed them off to Schupan & Sons to prepare the shields for assembly. We funneled all of the components of the project—foam, elastic and plastic shield—in order to assemble and then deliver to area hospitals.

Our manufacturing space and operations were at full capacity working on a different COVID-19 relief project so we set up the face shield line at our Innovation facility. Without assembly crew members, our designers and engineers stepped up and stepped into the role. Hear from Cassidy Taylor, a graphic designer who worked on the assembly line:

“One of the greatest things I’ve learned is how important it is to be flexible. With everything that has been happening in our world, country, and our own towns, society has made significant changes to our daily lives. It’s a scary time and an anxious time, but I’m also finding more and more moments of hope. One of those moments of great hope is Tekna’s ambition and ability to jump forward. In a matter of two weeks, we transformed our capabilities into one that is bringing hope and resources to not only people in our immediate community, but also to people far beyond our town.

I was asked to contribute to the production of the protective face shields that the hospital workers so desperately need. I spent the week rotating between stations on the production line with several other members of the company. From adhering the foam pad to the plastic shield, to bagging the completed product for shipping, we worked together to speed the production along. My coworkers and I come from desk jobs and we aren’t used to working on an assembly line. While the work is tedious and it’s not the normal graphic design work I’m used to, I actually found it to be pretty refreshing and it was nice to use a different side of my brain. The team and I also experienced a completely new type of collaboration. It encouraged all of us to remain flexible in our skills and minds, we communicated constantly, and worked together to achieve the goal of making as many masks as we could in each day. This experience was incredibly rewarding to be a part of! I’m so proud of the company, the team, and I’m thrilled to have the experience of bringing people hope and solace!” – Cassidy Taylor

New Year, New Look, New Website

New Website - New Year New Look

New Year, New Look, New Website

It’s hard to believe it’s been four years since we launched our rebrand and new website. At the same time, it feels like it’s exactly who we’ve always been. Then, our focus was on creating our brand identity – determining what makes us who we are and starting to share that with the world. It was just the beginning.

New Website - New Year, New Look - Tekna brand and site revamp

Now, with something really refreshing about the year 2020, we’ve built on that story and designed and developed a new website centered around our collective mission to create meaningful product and brand experiences. This evolution provides more visibility into how we work, what it’s like to work with us, and showcases our breadth of experience in a way we’ve never done before. While we’ve highlighted each of our services separately, we hope what rings true is how we’re all connected. It’s our multi-disciplinary approach and our collective expertise that allows us to create experiences with greater impact.

Bark Bath: Taking the RUFF Out of Bathing Your Dog

Barkbath Portale Dog Bath

Bissell Bark Bath: Taking the RUFF out of Bathing Your Dog

By Joe Marietta, Sr. Lead Engineer

Bissell came to us with a concept for a pet bathing attachment that would soon become the Bissell Bark Bath. Ideally, they wanted an attractive solution that worked with existing portable deep cleaners and fit within the current visual brand language.

Bissell Bark Bath - Taking the RUFF out of Bathing Your Dog

To deliver a prototype quickly, we used as many current parts as possible, opting to pair an available venturi (which can mix water and shampoo from a reservoir) with the existing trigger shut-off valve. These parts were never intended to function together, so packaging them to work in the smallest space possible was challenging. We started with a rough mock-up to engineer the hydraulic circuit. After the circuit was proven successful, we began the iterative process of developing an attractive housing for everything.

One of the most memorable aspects of the project was demoing prototypes at Bissell’s Pet Spot (a four-stall kennel inside the corporate building allowing staff to bring their pets to work). Not only did the experience underscore the company’s commitment to employees and their Pet Foundation, it also encouraged owners to try new pet products. Staff members would eagerly volunteer their dogs for trials with prototypes, which meant we got to meet a lot of great dogs and owners. Some of the dogs are already the stuff of legend, namely the chief chemist’s 180-lb Alaskan Malamute, Chief.

What makes us most proud is how we advanced the concept past the initial expectation, delivering a solution that satisfied their specifications in an integrated, elegant format that was not originally considered. Ultimately, this collaborative design and engineering approach is precisely what we excel at — creating solutions that are desirable, usable, and repeatable.

Here are some glimpses into our development process…as well as some satisfied users:

Bissell Bark Bath - Taking the RUFF out of Bathing Your Dog

Nara Bassinet is on the Move

The Nara Bassinet

Nara Bassinet is on the Move

The Nara bassinet is, quite literally, our baby. We designed the Nara bassinet from the ground up, to bring mothers closer to newborns while providing hospital staff with an enhanced care solution. And today, we are extremely proud to announce our first shipment to distribution!

Nara Bassinet - bringing mothers closer to newborns

This moment is a testament to both Tekna’s diverse group of talent—the designers, engineers, and production staff who worked collectively to refine the bassinet at every step—and also our obsession with quality, seen through many long days, late nights and weekends.

For now, we rest…assured that this is only the beginning in a long line of Nara successes!