SAN DIEGO – As California experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, a local company has begun manufacturing a product to make high-touch points at businesses and schools a little cleaner.
“It take a simple drill and two screws” said Michelle Grangetto, co-owner of 5th Axis Inc., a San Diego-based company which manufactures hands-free door pulls. “Even I have done it. It’s not rocket science.”
The company, a CNC machining manufacturer founded in 2004, has installed them at restaurants, gas stations, hospitals and schools — including a new installation Wednesday at North County Trade Tech High School in Vista. They retail for about $30, Grangetto said.
The pulls are installed at the bottom of a door, allowing it to be opened by feet rather than hands.
5th Axis started making them several months ago and now can crank out nearly 1,000 per day.
“It’s something so simple,” Grangetto said. “It seems obvious that it could help get through this process.”
Company officials hope the device can make customers feel safer in a COVID-19 world. That includes at North County Trade Tech, which now has the pulls installed at multiple doors in the facility.
The school’s classrooms are empty and will remain so for months until Gov. Gavin Newsom and county public health officials give the green light. When that time comes, Principal Philip Lutgen said he wants students and their parents feeling safe upon their return.
The school also is installing hand-washing stations and adding masks, Lutgen said.
“Every step we can do only makes things better,” he said.
That’s particularly critical at North County Trade Tech, a trade school where at-home learning doesn’t bode nearly as well for students, according to Lutgen.
“When it comes to manufacturing classes where they are machining, it gets really tough to do,” he said.