Oak Park Firm Creates Custom Medical Exam Tables for Detroit Zoo’s Penguins


Mopec, an Oak Park-based mortuary and pathology equipment manufacturer, has donated two custom medical exam tables to the Detroit Zoo’s new $30 million Polk Penguin Conservation Center.

“The Detroit Zoo is right around the corner from our headquarters,” says Jane VanDusen, CEO of Mopec. “When we received the (request for quotation) from the zoo, our staff decided they wanted to customize and donate the tables.”

The two tables will allow zoo veterinary staff and zookeepers to provide medical treatments and physical examinations to the penguins without having to transport them to the zoo’s onsite animal hospital.

Customized to accommodate the birds’ height, weight, and wingspan, the 48-inch long, retractable tables were built into the walls of two medical management rooms within the exhibit.

“The actual top surfaces where the penguins would be examined is a stainless steel type 304,” says Max Corona, vice president of engineering at Mopec. “The underside that supports the table has a folding mechanism that was made out of steel that has a special rust resisting coating on it so it doesn’t corrode.”

Corona says Mopec previously worked with the Detroit Zoo when it underwent an expansion 10 years ago.

The company has also created equipment for Sea World, the Department of Natural Resources, and the Food and Drug Administration’s livestock.

Home to nearly 80 birds, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center features a 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area with two acrylic underwater tunnels, and a 38-foot-long underwater viewing window. Inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic expedition and epic crossing of the Drake Passage, the penguin center evokes the harsh ice world of the southern continent, recreated in a 360-degree 4-D entry experience that includes blasts of polar air and sea mist.