KEARNEY — The Baldwin Filters plant will remain open so it can produce the products classified as “essential” in the battle against COVID-19, according to the company’s parent, Parker Hannifin.
The factory on Kearney’s eastern edge has undergone extensive physical and operational changes, so its 1,084 employees can continue to safely produce the filters used in emergency vehicles and other vehicles that deliver essential products and services.
In addition to adapting the manufacturing process for social distancing and other COVID-19 strategies, the Kearney plant’s staff is updated daily and regularly on the latest safety procedures and regulations, local company officials said.
“Baldwin Filters is an essential business,” said Steve Zimmerman, the Kearney plants marketing manager.
In addition to the Kearney operation, Baldwin facilities in Yankton, S.D., and Queretaro, Mexico, are producing the essential products, according to a press release from the Parker Hannifin Engine Mobile Aftermarket (EMAM) Division.
Because Parker EMAM provides filtration products to the essential businesses and services’ supply chain, the Kearney plant will remain open and will continue manufacturing operations, according to today’s press release.
Parker EMAM has taken numerous steps to manage health and safety concerns that include enhanced hygiene and disinfection protocols; eliminating group gatherings of employees; implementing CDC social distancing guidelines; restricting in-person meetings with vendors; limiting visitors, staggering work hours and breaks to reduce employee overlaps; and ending all nonessential travel.
“We are doing everything we can to balance our highest priority, which is the health and safety of our team members, while addressing the ongoing needs of our customers by providing critical products to critical industries,” said Denis Williams, general manager of Parker EMAM. “We have an onsite Crisis Management Team that meets daily and is in regular communication with our local and state representatives to monitor the situation. And we are putting contingency plans into place to keep production going and to also address the needs of our team members during this difficult time.”
According to the press release, because Baldwin filtration products are used for transportation and emergency vehicles, Parker EMAM is considered an essential business.
“Baldwin filters are not only crucial to helping the trucking industry deliver essential products such as food, gas and medical supplies, but our filtration products are also used on emergency vehicles such as police vehicles, ambulances and fire trucks. They are also used on municipal vehicles such as sanitation trucks. It is vital that these services stay up and running during this difficult time,” according to the company.
Agriculture also has been deemed a critical industry, so preventing interruptions to the food supply chain is important, according to the release. Baldwin filters are used on tractors, combines, trucks, backhoes, fuel storage tanks, diesel pickups and more equipment.
Because Parker Hannifin specializes in filtration products, Parker’s HVAC division provided an EMAM customer with a new government approved HVAC filtration solution for remote hospitals in New Jersey. The HVAC filtration product will provide clean air for hospital workers responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. All of this was done in under five days, and the units are being used today.
Parker EMAM also provides filtration products for power generators. These large, portable units are used as backup emergency power supplies for hospitals and manufacturing facilities and as a main power source for remote hospital facilities.
Other Parker divisions are stepping up to provide critical assistance where needed, from providing media for surgical masks to producing valves used in ventilator equipment
Parker Hannifin acquired the Baldwin Filters plant in Kearney in 2017 with its $4.3 billion purchase of Baldwin’s parent, CLARCOR Corp. Parker is headquartered in Cleveland.