The current COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in many ways over the past several weeks. From social distancing and self-isolation to school closings and work-from-home edicts, everyone and every business and industry has seemingly been affected — including the process industries.
In order to examine COVID-19's effect on the process industries, Processing recently reached out to its social media audience and subscribers with the goal of gathering responses from those involved in the process industries who were willing to share answers to questions such as:
- How has COVID-19 affected your company and its operations?
- What precautions has your company taken as a result of COVID-19?
- How has COVID-19 affected your job?
In our first COVID-19 Conversation, Sonic Corporation owner/director Rob Brakeman discusses the impact of COVID-19 at his company, which specializes in the custom design and fabrication of high-pressure homogenizer systems and inline blending skids. The company’s flagship homogenizer, the Sonolator, is designed into custom systems that emulsify and disperse a wide range of fluids in all major industries.
"In response to your Twitter inquiry regarding businesses and COVID-19, I’d say Sonic is doing OK at the moment. We have reduced staff and are alternating days to keep contact at absolute minimum. We have asked employees to keep activities confined, as best as possible, to work, home, commute, grocery store and that’s about it. Obviously, the company cannot dictate or enforce what people do beyond the confines of work, but I’m blessed to have such good people here that want to do their part. For those that need to be home for child care or because they feel they might be exposed by spouses who continue to work perhaps in larger work environments (we are only 14 people strong reduced to 5-6 per day) we are covering payroll for them. We hope to get federal- or state-level relief by way of tax credits and deferments. We are hopeful that payroll for those who cannot work will be reimbursed via the stimulus/relief package pending. For those who feel it necessary to be at home due to fear of exposure in general, I am allowing them to remain safely at home and we will assess each week.
"In the meantime, our phone rings as manufacturing companies who make wet wipes and disinfectant cleaning products are looking for ways to make more product faster. We can help with this. It’s not often that the liquid process systems we design and manufacture can be applied into something we would deem socially important in nature. We typically make systems for everyday applications that provide customers with greater efficiencies which translates into lower-costing products for consumers and end users. It’s nice to be associated with something that can truly help society at large by making people more hygienic in general. The use of these products, wet wipes, hand sanitizers, liquid soaps, spray cleaners and such makes us and our children more acutely aware of the situation in which we all find ourselves. My kids washing up before dinner was once done nonchalantly as a matter of 'mom said so.' She said it twice by the way! Welcome to parenthood. Now, as we wash up and sanitize, we realize we are protecting ourselves and others in a collective movement of selflessness and caring. This is how I choose to view it. We are grateful to be a part of helping where we can. If we can help companies catch up on production and be better prepared for the next time (hopefully not any time soon), then we feel we’ve done our part."
[Editor's note: Rob Brakeman's response was lightly edited to adhere to Processing's style guidelines]
If you are interested in sharing how you or your company/operation is moving forward in the wake of COVID-19, we want to hear from you. Please contact Processing Editor-in-Chief Jesse Osborne at [email protected]