Hamilton company with more than 100 years experience, retools expertise to help fight COVID-19


Published July 17, 2020 at 12:41 pm

A family-owned and run firm who has been doing business in Hamilton for more than 100 years, has retooled their operations to help in containing the spread of COVID-19.

A family-owned and run firm who has been doing business in Hamilton for more than 100 years, has retooled their operations to help in containing the spread of COVID-19.

Forsythe Lubrication, which was started in 1911 by the Forsythe family, has started making hand sanitizer to arm hospitals, grocery stores, businesses and households with an essential and hard-to-come-by tool in the battle against COVID-19.

The company, known worldwide for their expertise in blending industrial and automotive fluids and lubricants, has launched a new division called Forsythe Health Care (FHC) and they have big plans for the future.

“When COVID hit, production was down by about 30 per cent,” Greg Forsythe, director of Forsythe Lubrication, told InTheHammer. “No one was manufacturing but we were still considered an essential business.”

Forsythe said that at the time, the company and its 30 employees knew they could help in addressing the pandemic, but they had to first work on protecting workers and their families and then get down to using the company’s resources to help front-line workers.

To this end, Forsythe said they reached out to Rob MacIsaac, the President of Hamilton Health Sciences, to figure out how their expertise could most effectively support the health-care sector during this tumultuous time. The answer was obvious: hand sanitizer.

“We hit the ground running,” Forsythe said. “It’s been a lot of hard work but this is what we’re best at.”

The Forsythe team set about modifying their existing infrastructure and perfecting their liquid and gel sanitizer blends.

“There are a lot of inferior products out there,” Forsythe said, noting all of the hand sanitizer recalls that have been reported over that last few months. “And the prices some of them are charging are insane.”

The team’s goal was simple then: produce an affordable, safe and effective sanitizer that a person can use numerous times daily.

The end product is a Health Canada-approved and USP-grade hand sanitizer in both liquid and gel formats.

“We pulled it off fantastically,” Forsythe said, adding that they ramped up their sanitizing operation so that it’s currently producing approximately 500,000 kg per month (to put that in perspective, that’s roughly five average size swimming pools full).

So far, their product is appearing in Fortinos stores across Hamilton and is being snatched up by businesses, hospitals and long-term care facilities.

In addition to expanding their customer base across Canada, they have also been donating hand sanitizer to McMaster Children’s Hospital, Juravinski Hospitals, The City of Hamilton, McMaster University, Camp Trillium and Mohawk College.

“We wanted to help out the city that’s been our home since 1911,” Forsythe said. “Being able to help out and get sanitizer into hands that need it has been so rewarding.”

Forsythe has no plans of stopping either: he envisions a second Forsythe facility dedicated to producing millions of kilos of sanitizer in addition to disinfectant.

“We want to use our five generations of blending expertise to set up the best hand sanitizer facility in Canada,” Forsythe said. “The next phase is the disinfectants. The new normal everyone is going to need hand sanitizers and disinfectants.”

So while FHC looks to make an impact in the world of health-care supplies, Forsythe Lubrication will continue to deliver the same superior product they’ve become famous for over the past century.

“It will always be our core business,” Forsythe said. “But there’s nothing more gratifying than helping Canadians stay safe and healthy.”

For more information on Forsythe Lubrication and FHC visit their websites.

The Forsythe Gel Hand Sanitizer and Forsythe Liquid Hand Sanitizer are available for purchase at Fortino’s from Stoney Creek to Burlington. Larger wholesale purchases can be made by contacting FHC directly or through their website.

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