Surgical mask manufacturer in Chesterville
InCyt Resilience has set up shop in Chesterville at the former Nestlé plant. The all-Canadian company is manufacturing surgical quality masks. In this photo, from left to right: Tanya Cinnamon, quality control; Melody Cote, lead operator; Darrell O’Donnell, president & CEO stand alongside some of the equipment used to make the masks. Courtesy Photo

CHESTERVILLE – Canada has a dismal record as a country that can hold its own when it comes to being a manufacturing powerhouse.

Over time, Canadians have gotten used to the idea that their country is a country of raw materials often exported to other countries and returned as a finished product.

A Canadian company called InCyt Resilience is determined to change that as it takes on the challenge of making top of the line surgical masks, something the country is desperate for during the pandemic.

InCyt Resilience has settled in Chesterville, taking over a section of the former Nestlé’s plant, combining innovation, state of the art software and a determination to be a Canadian success story. They have projected a manufacturing capacity of 1 million surgical masks a month, and that is just the beginning according to Darrell O’Donnell the president and CEO of InCyt Resilience Inc., an Ottawa based company.

“We are in a very small portion of the building,” said O’Donnell.

“We have about 10,000 square feet, and what we are doing is manufacturing surgical masks. We are aimed at providing high quality, tested American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM Level 2 and ASTM Level 3) surgical masks.”

The mask production has only been up and running since November, but the company has already hired four people.

“We started the company for two different reasons,” he said.

O’Donnell said he was well aware of Canada’s lack of a manufacturing sector, especially when it came to products like much needed surgical masks.

“We believe manufacturing, given automation, given all of the technologies that are available can be re-localized; we can bring it home for certain areas, and the first place we are starting really is the surgical mask line that we have got going,” said O’Donnell.

He said, “The whole idea here is, how do we leverage really good people and talent with technologies that let them do what they are really good at?”

While there is still some construction to be done at the Nestlé site, the company is already producing masks.

“We started production in December,” explained O’Donnell. “Right now, we are actively producing and selling.”

Settling in Chesterville was not just a chance decision.

O’Donnell said, “We were looking for a location, and we looked in Ottawa but when this facility came up, I was not aware of it at all. It sort of really fit.”

He said he found a few places in Ottawa that were industrial, but the Nestlé’s facility was special.

“This place was a really old building with a cool history.”

Not only was the location great for what they wanted to do but they had no problem finding staff to help them start up.

“We brought in an automation line to do a lot of the machine work and the assembly of the masks is fully automated.”

When the mask making production facility is up and running the way O’Donnell expects it to be, he estimates he should be able to produce 1 million masks a month.

“We are not there yet,” he said, “but if we added another shift, we could easily do half that.”

While producing surgical masks is the priority right now, InCyt Resilience has plans for bringing in other kinds of business opportunities.

It is serious about coming up with Canadian solutions to Canadian problems, and if that means manufacturing a product needed to deal with issues, and those solutions can be helped with a product made in Canada, they are determined to do that.

“I think we can improve things so that Canada can meet its own needs,” said O’Donnell.

He pointed out that when the pandemic arrived and masks were in great demand, the government purchased masks from other countries that were not very useful.

“We are doing all of our manufacturing here in Chesterville. We do all of our testing and certification as well in the Toronto area,” he said.

The Chesterville location is manufacturing the highest level of masks, the kind used for surgery; called Level 3.

O’Donnell said, because the masks are tested and certified right in Canada, the companies that buy them know they can be trusted to be the best quality.

“We are selling to pharmacies, large factories that go through thousands of masks a month,” said O’Donnell.

InCyt Resilience plans to stay in Chesterville. The Chesterville location is not going anywhere.

O’Donnell said, “Our plan is to keep building and doing all that we can in Chesterville.”