Metal supplier for respirator masks among businesses exempt from shutdown

Ulbrich Stainless Steels & Special Metals, Inc. continues to operate worldwide as an essential business. The company was in talks with N95 mask makers about the local supplier’s role in helping end the dangerous shortage of masks now impacting health care workers.

Chief Executive Officer Chris Ulbrich quoted prices to manufacturers interested in the stamped metal product used to make the fine particle respirator masks now in demand.

“Suppliers in the medical, power generation, aerospace (fields) calling and saying ‘Are you going to be open?’” Ulbrich said. “All plants are operating worldwide. One third of our metals go to critical infrastructure.”

The state’s manufacturing sector was spared any disruption Monday, when the Lamont administration released a list of essential businesses exempt from shutting down at 8 p.m. to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

Ulbrich Steel is sanitizing the building and equipment following every shift, Ulbrich said. It is also practicing social distancing. Several employees are on quarantine and employees much stay home if sick. Some require testing before returning. The precautions appear to be working, Ulbrich said.

“We’re in good shape,” Ulbrich said. “We are very critical to infrastructure and our suppliers are open nationwide. Let’s hope we can continue.”

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