Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
CGI staff making the shields in their Ottery plant in Cape Town. Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
  • Cape Town based Creative Graphics International has gone from making car badges to making 350,000 face shields a week during South Africa’s nationwide lockdown.
  • The company feared its revenue stream would run dry when it went into lockdown, not being listed as an essential service.
  • Utilising their specialised equipment they found a way to make face shields from plastic and are now helping to save lives.
  • They can now make 350,000 SURVISOR shields per week for potential Covid-19 patients.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider SA. 

A Cape Town based manufacturer has gone from making car badges to making 350,000 face shields a week during South Africa’s nationwide lockdown.

David King, Financial Director at Creative Graphics International (CGI) based in Ottery, Cape Town, says in order to stay afloat their company switched from making decals and badges for South African taxis, Toyota, Ford, VW and Nissan to manufacturing thousands of face shields a week.

Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
Before lockdown, Creative Graphics International (CGI) made decals and badges for South African taxis, Toyota, Ford, VW and Nissan. Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.

The company which has been in operation for more than 35 years, feared its revenue stream would run dry when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country would go into a national lockdown and they were not listed as an essential service.

“The cash to cash cycle for a manufacturer is incredibly long. Raw Materials need to be ordered, deposits paid, shipping, payments, clearing, production, shipping, collection which places immense strain on cash flow and as a result, cash being tied up in stock,” said King.

Rather than throwing in the towel, the company turned it into an opportunity to save lives.

Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
Their econo-version face shields can be made in 40 seconds. Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.

“The idea actually came from one of our clients that said it was looking for face shields for its staff to keep working,” said King.

The idea prompted CGI to adapt their business. In a matter of days they figured out a way to use their specialised equipment and make face shields from plastic. The face shields are manufactured with specific polymer constructions, each selected to ensure optimum clarity and functionality as required by the respective types.

“The company obtained its Essential Services Certificate on the 27th of March and reconfigured its plant and began producing,” said King.

Out of this came two versions of the SURVISOR shield.

The first is an econo-version which can be made in 40 seconds. This means they can make 350,000 units per week for potential Covid-19 patients during transportation or hospital visit.

They can also manufacture a second more durable ‘premium’ version which can be reused by fieldworkers in healthcare and other forms of essential services. 

Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
They manufacture a second more durable ‘premium’ version which can be reused. Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.

Because of the project, the company has been able to avoid completely shutting down. At present the company has been able to keep about 30% of its staff employed, with the hope of bringing back more with more orders.

Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
Face shield rings for their econo-version face shield. Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.

“We have had enquiries for our product from outside South Africa including the USA, Australia and the NHS of United Kingdom. While there is a moratorium on the export of PPE we are working through this process with the DTI and ITAC,” said King. “A lot of businesses have the potential to make this a full-blown export industry once the lockdown is over.”

Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.
Face shields ready for transport. Image supplied by Creative Graphics International.

The company currently sells the face shields to essential service corporates. They leverage off high volume orders to lower the costs per mask. CGI have donated shields to various causes including a significant amount to automotive customer Ford SA who are working on a social responsibility project.

For more information visit their site here

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