By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Freelin-Wade makes tubing for ventilators

Marcus Larson/News-Register##
Freelin-Wade worker Rick Drahiem finishes up a spool of reinforced polyurethane tubing on the manufacturing line.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## Freelin-Wade worker Rick Drahiem finishes up a spool of reinforced polyurethane tubing on the manufacturing line.
Marcus Larson/News-Register##
A section of the blue colored reinforced tubing General Motors will use in their ventilators.
Marcus Larson/News-Register## A section of the blue colored reinforced tubing General Motors will use in their ventilators.

Plastic extrusion company Freelin-Wade is making medical-grade tubing for ventilators produced by General Motors Co.

Knowing the McMinnville plant will be helping treat people across the nation struggling to breathe because of COVID-19 is “pretty exciting,” general manager Scott Schwarm said.

Freelin-Wade has been making similar tubing along with about 400 other specialized plastic products, he said. Since the company was contacted by partners of GM, “we’re doing a lot more, a lot more,” Schwarm said.

The company has found it “fairly easy” to increase production to meet the demand, he said.

The contracts require Freelin-Wade to cut the GM tubing into specific lengths, about 2 feet per ventilator. 

The blue, reinforced tubing is made from plastic resin that complies with strict standards for medical-grade products, Schwarm said.

Freelin-Wade has been making plastic tubing in McMinnville for more than four decades.

“We have a wonderful team,” the general manager said. “Knowing they are making tubing for these ventilators gives them even more of a sense of purpose.”

The company has 112 employees at its plant in McMinnville Industrial Park. Schwarm said he doesn’t expect to add staff to produce the ventilator tubing, although there may be some hiring if replacements are needed because some employees choose to remain at home.

Freelin-Wade employees are observing social distancing in the manufacturing area and cafeteria, he said. And each supervisor and team are following extra cleaning protocols.

The company and its employees also are known for frequently holding public charity fundraisers. Schwarm said they will probably postpone an upcoming silent auction to benefit the Willamette Cancer Center, but he hopes the annual chili cook-off will take place as usual in October.

“We’re really proud of what the staff does,” he said. “It’s a family here. It feels good.”

Comments

@@pager@@