June 15, 2020

PHIL Cares

Phil Cares


The Ear Protector takes pressure off the wearer’s ears.

If you are one of the millions of workers required to wear a mask to work, you know the irritation of mask straps tugging on your ears for 8+ hours every day. One local company has stepped up to help workers find some relief.

During the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Philippi-Hagenbuch, a local manufacturer of off-highway truck enhancements, shifted their 3D printers to produce Ear Protectors to donate to frontline workers around the country. The Ear Protectors shift the pressure of mask straps from the ears to a simple piece of plastic at the back of the head.

To date, they have printed over 3,200 Ear Protectors with nearly 1,500 going to OSF Healthcare to distribute locally and throughout their network of facilities. Others were sent to UnityPoint and Mayo Clinic. Following this initial run, individuals were able to request ear protectors through the Philippi website, which resulted in shipments to almost every state in the US.

“It is in our nature to give back; during the early days of COVID-19, we felt helpless and this project gave us a sense of contributing towards the pandemic effort.”

Danette Swank, President, Philippi-Hagenbuch

While searching for ways to help and contribute as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Philippi was inspired by a news story about a Boy Scout in Canada who had begun printing out these Ear Protectors on his own 3D Printer and had shared his design online. While their manufacturing facility is designed mostly for heavy duty steel fabrication, Philippi was able to repurpose a 3D printer to begin production in late March. Demand was so intense that they enlisted an outside partner to help fulfill orders.

“It feels incredibly good to be able to give back to our community, even in such a small way, knowing that we are helping people be safe amongst this pandemic, while providing comfort.”

Josh Swank, VP of Sales & Marketing, Philippi-Hagenbuch

Danette and Josh Swank sorting Ear protectors at home.

At the peak of the stay at home order, Philippi had five 3D printers in action, printing out Ear Protectors in every color of the rainbow. They have also provided packages of Ear Protectors to the local HyVee, Schnuck’s, and Kroger stores for their employees.

Ear protectors are still available to people needing them and can be requested at: https://haul.philsystems.com/philcares.

Philippi-Hagenbuch Inc., is a Peoria, Illinois based specialty manufacturer of off-highway truck enhancements, that continues innovating in their fifth decade. Philippi-Hagenbuch designs, manufactures, and sell a broad range of construction & mining equipment for articulated and rigid frame off-highway haul trucks to companies in a multitude of industries (such as construction, mining, power plant, petroleum, steel mill, and refuse) all over the world. Learn more at www.philsystems.com.


Philippi-Hagenbuch is a member of the Greater Peoria Manufacturing Network, a nimble eco-system of 21 companies that rapidly scales with all of your manufacturing needs. The network offers a collective solution, with a single point of contact to help you navigate your entire project — from design and fabrication to consulting and logistics. Learn more at gpmanufacturing.org/.