SPEEDWAY -- There's more than race cars being produced at the Dallara IndyCar Factory in Speedway.
In an effort to help Eskenazi Hospital keep supplied with enough hospital gowns, Dallara is using its cutting machines to cut large amounts of fabric that is then sewn into gowns.
In the battle against COVID-19, it's another example of a business branching out from what it normally does to make items needed in hospitals.
The Dallara facility, just a few blocks from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, makes the chassis for the cars competing in the IndyCar series, including the 500. The process includes cutting carbon fiber material with high tech machines.
Dallara's Bryce Moore said the company, which was already involved in coronavirus work at its headquarters in Italy, wanted to see what it could do to help in Indianapolis. If the cutting machines could slice through race car material, they could certainly handle fabric for gowns.
"It's a very simple process," said Moore. "It's all electronically done. We just have a couple of guys lay the sheets of material on the table and press the button and after a few minutes, you've got 25 gown kits ready to be sewn together."
The sewing is done by Stitch Works, an Indianapolis company that does sewing for fashion designers. Dallara is able to cut through seven layers of fabric at a time. That leaves Stitch Works to concentrate on sewing. The result is many more gowns for Eskenazi than if Stitch Works had to do all the work.
"Everybody is willing to lend a hand in any way possible," said Moore. "We've been able to reprioritize some projects that we have going on to help bring more personnel in and we are able to keep up with some of the essential government contracts within the aerospace and defense industry here while also being able to help in a crisis like this."
Dallara, which is donating its time, produced enough material for about 400 gowns last week and hundreds more will be possible with what is cut this week.
"It makes me feel real special. I am always one to give a helping hand in anyway possible, and to help with a small piece to a much larger puzzle to solve, it just means a lot," said Moore. "We're trying to give back to the community that has done a lot for us."