News & Media

Winnipeg start-up transforming PPE with groundbreaking innovations

Nestled in Winnipeg’s innovative North Forge FabLab, Win-Shield Devices is at the forefront of creating a suite of innovative and inclusive personal protection equipment (PPE).

Built out of necessity and innovation, its inception is a story of how an idea put into action can create something special. 

In 2020, as COVID-19 struck Manitoba’s health-care system, the president of Win-Shield Devices Inc., Rob Ranson, was compelled to act. Driven by concern for frontline workers like his daughter, an X-Ray technician, and frustrated with the inadequacies of existing PPE, he sketched a design for a full coverage, comprehensive face shield.

With the support of North Forge FabLab members and access to CNC cutting equipment and a vacuum-forming machine, the C-Shield prototype was completed in just three days.

After securing a Health Canada Medical Device Establishment License (MDEL), this rapid prototyped innovation soon led to a government contract and the delivery of four million units within nine months — all occurring during the height of the world-wide supply chain shutdown. 

“I am incredibly proud of Rob’s innovation and unwavering passion. His visionary approach and dedication to pushing the boundaries of PPE technology have not only propelled his company forward but also brought significant advancements of inclusion to the health-care industry,” said Joelle Foster, President and CEO, North Forge Technology Exchange. “Rob and his team’s commitment to excellence is truly inspiring for other FabLab members and continues to drive Manitoba’s tech ecosystem towards a brighter future.” 

After a Canada-wide search and competition in 2023, Win-Shield Devices was awarded a federal ISED contract to develop a breakthrough inclusive respirator for Canada’s federal law enforcement officers. This revolutionary device is specifically designed for individuals with beards and religious head coverings, addressing a critical need for inclusivity in protective gear.

Currently awaiting testing and certification this respirator will be a game-changer, once approved, for federal law enforcement agencies, marking a significant advancement in ensuring safety and inclusivity for all personnel. 

Win-Shield Devices exemplifies the power of innovation and teamwork, demonstrating that with dedication and the right support, start-ups can make a profound impact on society.

Under Rob’s leadership, the company thrives on collaboration with a growing team of 10 full-time employees spanning three provinces. Rob’s commitment to his team’s success fosters an environment where talent and passion drive excellence. Having spent three years quietly building a high-performance team of engineers and production specialists, the team at Win-Shield have designed, patented, and is developing an integrated ecosystem of 20 new devices that will begin launching into the market in 2025.

“We have assembled a very talented and engaged team who are as committed as I am to creating something special, and together we are taking this way further than we first imagined it could become. It’s not just a business, it’s a mission,” said Ranson.

Entrepreneurs looking for inspiration can look to Ranson and his team at Win-Shield Devices, as a testament to what can be achieved if you have a clear vision, unwavering commitment, and access to the community and resources of the North Forge FabLab.  

To learn more about how the North Forge FabLab can help you rapid prototype your idea, please visit www.northforge.ca/fablab/.

Source: Winnipeg Sun

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