Shifting our focus to help fight COVID-19

Date: September 2020
Filed Under: Design

Our mission to give back.

Combating the spread of COVID-19 is no easy task. STEL continues to aid efforts in curtailing the spread of this novel coronavirus on multiple fronts. In-house prototyping machines and 3D printers have been running full clip to simultaneously produce immediate protection for the medical community and expedite the development process for consumer protection solutions. Whether through our own initiatives or with long-term partners like Nomad and KeySmart, the STEL team has been working hard to aid in the fight against this unprecedented pandemic.


Prototyping on-site for faster production.

On-site prototyping and 3D printing capabilities have proven invaluable for STEL’s creation process. These in-house resources reduce the turn-around and delays associated with outsourcing and allow us to test multiple design iterations per week. This gives our designers and engineers the ability to explore more directions in greater depth, resulting in more thorough, robust designs in an expedited timeframe—especially valuable aspects when designing products to combat the time-sensitive coronavirus crisis.


Swiftly delivering solutions for market adoption.

The pace at which market landscapes are evolving has never been greater. Fortunately, STEL is uniquely equipped to handle these constantly changing environments. Our agility and quick-turn design capabilities have been crucial in realizing many COVID-19 response projects.

Mike Tunney, CEO of KeySmart, explains, “STEL’s fully integrated design capabilities have allowed us to quickly develop solutions [for] a changing market.” Whether it’s an everyday face mask, CleanGrab device, or other product currently in development, STEL swiftly delivers high-value designs to customers who need to get to market fast.


Designing masks for everyday use.

Following the CDC’s call for face masks to be worn in public, STEL partnered with long-time client KeySmart to develop a well-designed face mask for general use. Given the public’s reluctance to wear face coverings on the grounds of discomfort and unattractive appearance, the ultimate goal of this project was to encourage face mask adoption and reduce infection transmission by creating a comfortable, stylish product that people actually want to wear.

STEL leveraged our extensive soft goods supply chain to sample and select the necessary materials to complete this PPE tailored for everyday use. Our robust supplier network has been instrumental in providing a streamlined, quick-turn solution for this essential product.


Utilizing 3D printers to shield the community.

STEL understands the value of a rapid response during a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team has been working tirelessly to quickly and efficiently produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that protect the general public and ease the shortages our medical community is experiencing. Our adaptability and committed spirit of innovation have been instrumental in the successful completion and introduction of designs and products in a matter of weeks.

Always keeping those on the front lines of this crisis forefront in our minds, STEL continues to leverage its in-house capabilities to augment supplies for the severely strained medical supply chain. Using our on-site prototyping and 3D printing assets, we have been producing, assembling, and donating face shields to medical facilities right here in Santa Barbara.


Procuring masks for donation to local hospitals.

Looking beyond our office walls, we knew there was still more we could do to contribute. Utilizing our extensive supply chain and well-established manufacturing relationships, we continue to actively source PPE to ease the strain on the medical supply chain. We’ve donated thousands of surgical masks, sanitations wipes, and face shields to date to give heroic medical personnel the protection they need.


Business as usual.

Despite the many changes this crisis has brought to the workplace, the STEL team continues to be as creative and productive as ever. Working from the safety of their own homes, our engineers and designers are focusing on innovating next-generation products. Our team is using various telecommunication tools to maintain the proven collaboration and communication processes that enable us to deliver products of the utmost quality, on-time and on-budget.

STEL "Surf's Up" Team Meeting

Although timelines are uncertain, STEL understands that these unprecedented times are temporary. No matter how long it takes to put this pandemic behind us, STEL is eager and committed to helping the community in any way we can. We encourage you to reach out to discuss any project ideas you may have and look forward to collaborating.