Sudbury, Canada-based FORTAI has decided to convert a mining supply chain and logistics product, called the SmartCube, into one that sanitizes personal protective equipment (PPE) or other devices used by front-line and essential workers across a range of industries. The company will bring its Sanitization SmartCube into production within 30 days by leveraging its SmartCube technology, an ecosystem of partners, and expertise from the INOVINTA Group of Cos., which includes BESTECH and SHYFTinc.

FORTAI developed its initial mining-built SmartCube as a mobile inventory management solution designed to allow for safe containerization and transportation of materials, including explosives. Due to COVID-19, the company said it is redirecting its resources to create sanitization chambers for PPE, clothing or other tools. By using the SmartCube technology, users can track and log PPE as it is sanitized.

FORTAI President Trang Tran-Valade said, “This technology will ensure confidence in PPE for front line and essential workers and meet the needs of a temporary new normal. The mining industry is familiar with creating safe workplaces in challenging environments.”

It will deploy Sanitization SmartCubes in hospitals, mines or other workplaces with PPE requirements. “Our solution will enable workers to easily sanitize everything from PPE to tools,” Tran-Valade said. “The great thing is that SmartCubes are scalable; we can right-size them for different workplaces and sites.”

FORTAI and the INOVINTA Group of Cos. is extending the call to other researchers, companies, and medical professionals who are willing to work on the project. FORTAI is already working with Laurentian University and the Perdue Central Analytical Facility (PCAF).

INOVINTA CEO Marc Boudreau said, “The idea for the Sanitization SmartCube was sparked in a video conference call involving the heads of our group of companies, BESTECH, SHYFTinc and FORTAI. What drove the decision to pivot our business was a discussion of how people we know and love are being affected by this virus.”

For the group, the decision to refocus resources is personal, Boudreau said. “We have employees whose family members are working in the ICU and facing this challenge head-on. All of our core businesses are still actively working, but we could not just go on like ‘it’s business as usual,’ when together, we have a unique and innovative team of experts, technologies, and partnerships that can make a real difference. We need to do our part.”