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2019/2020 Economic Update

Battling through

During this unprecedented time, sportswear maker Niko Apparel quickly retooled to provide locally manufactured masks for hospitals in Hamilton.  Working with McMaster Engineering and Hamilton Health Sciences, Niko produced a new line of masks for both surgical and non-surgical masks and developed reusable, washable masks for hospitals, industries and public use. 


Longan Vision
Enzo Jia, the CEO and co-founder of Longan Vision, is representing a perfect opportunity to use technology they had been working on in a new and important way.

Jia, along with a group of fellow McMaster University Mechanical Engineering graduates, had been developing thermal imaging AR (augmented reality) headsets for use by firefighters. However, with the unfortunate global pandemic sweeping the globe, they have pivoted to help.

“Gatekeeper”, a thermal imaging system that uses two cameras to capture the temperature of an area and thermal imaging on individuals that cross by. The information gathered from the two cameras is then sent to a computer to look for variances between the two. Gatekeeper, is currently being tested at the front entrance to the Nations store in Jackson Square.

As society begins to move away from the COVID-19 lockdown to whatever a new “normal” looks like, information will be critical to ensure the safety of individuals who cautiously venture outside.

Fox 40 International / Niko Apparel Systems
Two Hamilton-based companies Fox 40 International and Niko Apparel Systems teamed up to produce whistle masks during the pandemic.  This new product aims to provide a level of virus protection for officials and coaches in various minor and professional sports leagues.  The whistle mask allows the user to attach their existing Fox 40 whistle to the mask via a plastic clip, and after the game they can remove the whistle and wash the mask.  There has already been interest in the product from many sports league across the globe.

Image: Property of The Hamilton Spectator

Using technology that has already been used by local organizations like; Hamilton Health Sciences and Niagara Health, the SteriRight unit houses a Clean Flow Health Care Mini device which was created by Clean Works in Beamsville. According to Peter Klara, The SteriRight unit takes less than a minute to clean a batch of masks using a “hybrid, three-pronged decontamination approach” that includes ultraviolet light (UV-C), ozone and vapourized hydrogen peroxide.

Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats
McMaster is launching The Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats, to ensure Canada and the world are better able to manage the human and economic devastation of COVID-19 and avert future pandemics.  The Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats will be an international network of scientists, clinical health and medical specialists, engineers, social scientists, history and policy researchers, economics and business experts devoted to one goal: preventing future pandemics and mitigating global health threats like antimicrobial resistance.

With the onset of COVID19 pandemic and faced with a nearly 30 percent drop in business  due to the shutdown of the economy, Forsythe Lubrication pivoted to producing hand sanitizer.  For a company in business since 1911 providing industrial lubricants this was a major shift.  They are now producing 500,000 litres a month and plan to produce 2 Million litres a month.  The company now has customers across Canada including hospitals, grocery stores, restaurants, food supply distributors, and long term care facilities.