Allentown Plastics Company’s New Product Making Elevators Safer
By Colin McEvoy on June 26, 2020
As the nation grapples with quarantines and millions of employees are telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lehigh Valley has a high percentage of essential jobs that cannot be done from home. Each week, we’re recognizing some of our Economic Heroes, the companies and organizations that are continuing to work during these difficult times, helping keep the regional economy strong and doing their part to help fight against the coronavirus.
When the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States, Tyson Daniels, owner of the Allentown-based custom plastic injection molding company Polymer Contours, wanted to find a way to help in his own small way.
That led to the creation of a new product called PushSafe.
These single-use hygienic push pins can be used to press elevator buttons without spreading germs. Made from a medical grade polymer with anti-microbial agent, Tyson and his partners, envisioned these recyclable pins in use at hospitals, apartment complexes, convention centers and anywhere else facilities facility management companies are seeking ways to make their occupants and visitors feel safer during the COVID-19 crisis.
But even Daniels was surprised at the high demand the product has already generated. Even before the product’s formal July launch, Sales have come in from wholesale distributors and buildings across the country, and Amazon has hand-picked PushSafe for a prominent upcoming Prime feature on the website’s front page.
“It’s been an unbelievable reaction,” Daniels said. “We’re fortunate enough to be in a position to not only be able design a product, but also have the technical ability to see it made, from tooling all the way though to the finished product. It just really made perfect sense for our company.”
Daniels purchased Polymer Contours in 2015, when the company had one major customer and two mold machines. Since that time the company has grown to 28 customers and four machines, and is fast outgrowing its space in the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center, a business incubator operated by the Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC).
Upon purchasing the company, Daniels discovered a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem in Lehigh Valley and the city of Allentown, one that provides startup companies with the resources, support, and expertise that has led to the successful growth of Polymer Contours to the point of launching PushSafe, a proprietary product.
“I’m a huge fan of Lehigh Valley,” Daniels said. “I feel like we represent the essence of manufacturing. Just being here in Bridgeworks, located in the former building where Mack Trucks started in the early 1900s, is amazing in itself.”
Polymer Contours specializes in production focused on custom plastic part design/engineering and full mold design/build capability. The company works with customers to produce parts that fit their specific plastic, thermal or mechanical specifications.
“Being able to start this company surrounded by others in the same position was key to the development of my company, my brand and ultimately myself. The AEDC was a huge part of this and its being located here in bridgeworks,” Daniels said.
AEDC Program Manager David Dunn said: “AEDC is proud to support Mr. Daniel’s entrepreneurial spirit with manufacturing space and financial assistance from our loan programs. By executing his business plan, Tyson has taken a dormant business and turned it into a prosperous company that is adding employees, achieving record sales and will likely outgrow their BEC space quite soon. In the meantime, we hope to see Polymer Contours’ PushSafe on sale on Amazon.”
Founded in 1989 in the refurbished former Mack Trucks Plant 4A, the 64,000 square-foot Bridgeworks Enterprise Center is the only business incubator in the Lehigh Valley dedicated primarily to manufacturing startups.
Other client companies include Amorphic Tech Ltd, ColdEdge Technologies, the Colony Meadery, County Seat Spirits, Hijinx Brewing Company, JH Plastics, LightLab International, MTS Design + Manufacture, and TRuCapSol.
Daniels created PushSafe in partnership with Greg Henry of the marketing firm Push10, and Lucas Taylor of LTS Technical Services. Taylor is Polymer Contours main engineer and has played a key role in any engieering needed for new or existing product design. Daniels said once the idea for PushSafe was conceived, Taylor had the product designed within six hours.
The pins are pulled off a plate, which holds 105 per plate, Daniels said. The plate slides into a bracket hung on the elevator with foam tape provided in each kit, and the pins are placed in a bin at the bottom of the bracket. Once the pins are all used, the plate can be easily replaced.
To prove the market before investing in tooling, Henry launched a series of surveys targeting facilities management companies and other potential customers, and Daniels said the positive response to the idea was overwhelming. Almost immediately after a website was designed for the product, they began receiving orders from all over the country.
“All that demand was pre-product,” Daniels said. “I’ve never seen a product sell like this before the product itself even existed.”
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