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Demetech Corporation disrupts the personal protective equipment (PPE) industry

With the help of: FloridaMakes

About

Demetech Corporation is a private, minority-owned, family-held company located in Miami Lakes, Florida. An established FDA-approved manufacturer of medical devices, Demetech employed 350 people in the design and manufacture of innovative medical sutures and hernia mesh products prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of Florida's largest exporters, Demetech products are sold in 130 countries. As a result of their production ramp-up of N95 respirators and surgical masks, Demetech has 1,500 employees.

The Challenge

Motivated by the PPE shortage at the pandemic's onset, Demetech launched a bold endeavor to resolve the critical need for certified PPE. Their plan was a scaled strategic investment and rapid deployment to manufacture high-quality and high-volume PPE certified by the CDC National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) with US-origin raw materials converted in their Miami Lakes Florida facility within 90 days. Luis Arguello Sr., President and Founder of Demetech, personally guaranteed millions of dollars of investment.

It has been, and remains, our pleasure working alongside our extended team from the South Florida Manufacturers Association, part of the FloridaMakes Network, in our goal to produce quality certified PPE in the USA. We welcome the spirit, dedication, and technical resolve of these resources, and look forward to a long relationship. 
— Luis Arguello, Jr., Vice President, Demetech Inc.

MEP's Role

Demetech assembled a winning team internally and externally. The South Florida Manufacturers Association (SFMA), part of the FloridaMakes Network and the MEP National Network™, joined the contributors. Demetech’s endeavor was in part made possible via a connection with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Functional Fabrics of America and a partnership with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which was developing technology for the production of N95 respirators.

While Demetech’s internal team focused on sourcing materials, machinery, and space, the SFMA team began working at the local, state and federal levels to align supply with demand. The SFMA team made connections between the South Florida Hospital Association, local hospital administrations and Demetech, while Demetech’s founder secured NIOSH's approval.

Demetech's team realized their 90-day goal and began producing N95 certified respirators. The SFMA team worked through various channels of demand including the MEP National Network, the Florida governor’s office, the Florida Division of Emergency Management, as well as government offices for the 8 counties of the South Florida community. Sales have thus far been predominately to the US government due to Buy American provisions.

Demetech has invested in a $15 million facility to consolidate production and optimize operations and now supports direct sales via their website. The next hurdle for the Demetech team is the cost of manufacture, as future growth will greatly depend on regulations regarding PPE origins and the market tolerance for US-made goods at guaranteed quality and marginally higher prices.

Created March 27, 2021, Updated July 12, 2021