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Spotlighting Pandemic Innovations: Sharing Digi-Key’s Lifesaving Work with the World

We’ve spent the last year help­ing our clients spot­light all the ways they’ve piv­ot­ed their oper­a­tions and inno­vat­ed to meet the needs of our new world. One client that has been rec­og­nized for the many ways they’ve sup­port­ed the indus­try and local and glob­al com­mu­ni­ty this past year has been Digi-Key Elec­tron­ics.

Right away when the ven­ti­la­tor short­ages began in ear­ly 2020, Digi-Key teamed up with physi­cians at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Min­neso­ta, and sev­er­al oth­er local com­pa­nies, to help devel­op the Coven­tor, the first ven­ti­la­tor approved for use under the FDA’s Emer­gency Use Autho­riza­tion for the COVID-19 out­break. The sys­tem was built for rapid deploy­ment, and spec­i­fi­ca­tions were shared as an open-source design, vir­tu­al­ly unheard of in the med­ical device field, in order to increase avail­abil­i­ty of mechan­i­cal ven­ti­la­tion world­wide, even in low resource areas.

While one team of Digi-Key’s engi­neers were work­ing on the Coven­tor, anoth­er team was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly invent­ing new tech­nol­o­gy for their own inter­nal oper­a­tions, to dis­in­fect the thou­sands of totes that car­ry prod­uct through the Digi-Key ware­house daily.

Digi-Key pro­vides top tech­nol­o­gy, med tech, auto­mo­tive, IoT and up-and-com­ing com­pa­nies around the world with access to more than 11.5 mil­lion elec­tron­ic com­po­nents. As a result, near­ly 8,000 plas­tic totes trav­el through­out Digi-Key’s 1 mil­lion-square-foot dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­ter every day, trans­port­ing prod­ucts through the pick­ing, ship­ping and receiv­ing depart­ments. Employ­ees in the prod­uct dis­tri­b­u­tion cen­ter inter­act with the totes mul­ti­ple times per day, and in the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic lit­tle was known about how the virus was trans­ferred and car­ried, so dis­in­fect­ing every­thing that was touched in an effi­cient man­ner was no small task.

In record time, Digi-Key engi­neers devel­oped and imple­ment­ed a tun­nel that uses UV light to kill 99.99 per­cent of the organ­isms on the totes, dras­ti­cal­ly reduc­ing con­tact and spread of the virus for Digi-Key employ­ees. And to this day, there has been no known spread of COVID-19 with­in Digi-Key’s facil­i­ties, thanks in part to the UV tun­nel inno­va­tion, as well as the company’s strin­gent social dis­tanc­ing and dis­in­fect­ing poli­cies, and many oth­er pre­cau­tions put into place.

Bell­mont Part­ners shared these inno­v­a­tive and unique pan­dem­ic solu­tions wide­ly with media local­ly, nation­al­ly and glob­al­ly, and they were cov­ered every­where from the Thief Riv­er Falls Times to the Star Tri­bune, MPR, NBC affil­i­ates around the coun­try, Indus­try Week, FOX News, and in sev­er­al promi­nent indus­try pub­li­ca­tions in Europe and Asia.

While not the sto­ries we expect­ed to tell on behalf of Digi-Key last year, we’re proud to sup­port their inno­va­tion, and delight­ed to help them be rec­og­nized on a glob­al lev­el for the many ways they’ve sup­port­ed their employ­ees, the elec­tron­ics indus­try and the world in these chal­leng­ing times. From being named a Tekne final­ist in the COVID-19 Com­mu­ni­ty Response cat­e­go­ry to a COVID HERO award from the Insti­tute for Engi­neer­ing in Med­i­cine (IEM) and an Inc. Best in Busi­ness 2020 hon­oree, their com­mu­ni­ty response to the pan­dem­ic has been felt on an inter­na­tion­al scale.

Digi-Key is enabling the world’s ideas on a dai­ly basis, and we’re proud to sup­port them in shar­ing the many ways they fuel glob­al inno­va­tion, but we’re espe­cial­ly hon­ored to have part­nered with them on shar­ing these life­sav­ing innovations.

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