POST-PANDEMIC MANUFACTURING of all types now faces new challenges, especially the highly specialized and detailed hand-craftsmanship that is necessary for fine jewelry and watches. At my factory in southern California, we specialize in high quality production of fine jewelry in quantity, which requires a wide variety of machines and tools. We have many metallic surfaces on which a virus like COVID-19 can live for up to 72 hours. For me, cleanliness and safety are more important than ever to ensure the health of my team.
In early spring, when I first learned of the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic, as the owner and president of my company, Christian Tse Design & Manufacturing, I knew immediately that the responsibility was on me and that I had to take action. My first thought was concern for my employees. I didn’t want any of them to be concerned physically or financially. I continued paying my staff despite the hiatus of production and temporary closing of our factory. But I was also concerned for the ongoing well-being and security of our team when getting back to work. From a business perspective, my facility requires a highly skilled team. It would be incredibly time-consuming and challenging for me to replace the talented craftsmen, diamond-setters, mold-makers, polishers, etc. Plus, in a small business with just under 50 employees, the staff feels like my extended family! So, I had to protect them.
Immediately after the stay at home orders were issued by the California governor, I started researching the best possible options for keeping my team safe. My factory already has several UV ovens, the same ones used in the health care industry, which the staff had begun using before quarantine to sanitize items that are regularly touched by the workers — things like towels, scissors, pliers, wire cutters and blades.
I decided to invest in an air purifying system that also cleans surfaces. It’s called The Air Scrubber Plus, and it is designed to reduce indoor air quality risks known as Sick Building Syndrome. This innovative new system works within the existing air conditioning unit at my factory. While it has not yet been tested against COVID-19, the system has been scientifically proven to reduce bacteria, viruses and other pathogens in the air, as well as on surfaces. For me, it was important that the product was tested in peer-reviewed scientific studies. The air scrubber was proven effective against DNA and RNA viruses like swine flu, avian bird flu, staph, black mold, strep, E. Coli and MRSA. The emphasis on surfaces was crucial for me because jewelry manufacturing uses so many machines, benches and metal tools.
As an added benefit, the system also eliminates odors, dust, pollen, mold and other allergen air pollutants. The precision required for our fine jewelry polishing and finishing can be impaired by allergies. Removing the allergens should enhance my team’s accuracy and consistency.
The Air Scrubber Plus was first used in the International Space Station, and like our jewelry, it is made entirely in the USA. Using only 18 watts of electricity, the air scrubber purifies the air with special germicidal UV light waves. Additionally, a proprietary catalytic process creates molecules of hydrogen and oxygen that scrub the air in any environment, similar to how nature cleans the air. Studies indicate that the air scrubber system removes 99.9% of harmful contaminates in the air, making it possible for employees to “get fresh air” inside any time and all the time.
For me, the air scrubber was an important first step in getting my factory ready for production and resuming business. The scrubber cleans air ducts, tables, counter tops, furniture, doorknobs — making almost every surface that would be touched in the facility safer. I’ve also made hand sanitizer readily available in all areas of the building and given my staff new cleaning responsibilities like wiping surfaces regularly while working. Luckily, traditional safety attire for fine jewelry manufacturing protects the eyes and skin of our craftsmen when soldering and polishing precious metals.
Lastly, I worked virtually with my team during quarantine to reconfigure the factory floor layout. The jeweler’s benches are now farther apart to allow social distancing, and we instituted a daily practice of using the UV ovens to purify all of our cell phones upon entry and exit. More importantly, we sanitize finished jewelry pieces in the UV ovens before shipping to clients. These extra precautions have now become the daily norm.
For more information about the air scrubber or how we’ve made our facility more safe for all involved, please feel free to contact me, at email@example.com or visit our website.