Pandemic leads to new Ramcel product

  • Hatched as a way to avoid spreading germs during the pandemic, Racmel's Dr. Stepper is a stainless steel device that allows people to open doors with their feet.

    Hatched as a way to avoid spreading germs during the pandemic, Racmel's Dr. Stepper is a stainless steel device that allows people to open doors with their feet. Courtesy of Ramcel

 
 
Updated 6/19/2020 12:18 AM

COVID-19 has run some companies out of business. But for Ramcel, which has been stamping precision metal parts in Northbrook for 69 years, the pandemic led to a new product.

The Dr. Stepper hands-free door opener allows people to open a door by using their foot to pull on the stainless steel bracket. Using a shoe instead of a hand limits the spread of germs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Like many other manufacturers, we had already converted our automotive work stations to make Face Shields," says Brian Ellinor, director of sales for Ramcel Precision Stamping and Manufacturing. But the engineering department "wanted to do more."

Designed and made at the Northbrook facility, Dr. Stepper features two sets of premium hardware and can be fitted to all standard doors. It mounts to the bottom of the door with four bolts, and includes a stainless steel backplate and rubber stops to prevent if from scratching trim or molding.

"Ours is a little more industrial, a little more premier," Ellinor says. "Once you bolt it on there, you're good to go for years."

Ramcel, a member of the Northbrook Chamber of Commerce, makes everything from tools such as wire-strippers to parts for outdoor grills. Last year, the company shipped more than 63 million metal parts across the country and some across the world.

Designing Dr. Stepper was a unique project. Tools generally take 20 or 25 weeks to develop, but "we put this together in about five weeks," Ellinor says.

With the slogan, "Put your best foot forward," Dr. Stepper should be available soon on Amazon.

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