The global ramifications of COVID-19, in terms of both our physical and economic well-being, are daunting. Some regions have been quite successful in avoiding widespread losses, others are beginning to see cases decline and are returning somewhat to normalcy, and still others have yet to see the worst.
Manufacturers are continuing to address the unique needs of the pandemic through a number of different initiatives, including: retooling to launch the production of new products; increasing production; donating products, time, energy, and money to organizations and areas that need them most. Below are some of the latest of these inspiring stories to come across my desk.
Avery Dennison Adapts Production to Help in COVID-19 Response
Avery Dennison recently announced that its medical business will produce personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Avery Dennison Medical, based in Mentor, Ohio, has adapted manufacturing lines and started producing vital disposable plastic face shields for healthcare professionals, as well as those who require additional protective equipment in their line of work.
The disposable plastic face shield is a protective clear anti-fog coated polyester plastic sheet that can be used two different ways. Its design allows the user to wear it using the easy-to-assemble, integrated adjustable plastic headband, or the shield can be applied directly to the forehead or an article of clothing using the skin-friendly, gentle, and repositionable adhesive tape strip. The face shield is designed with user comfort in mind and accommodates the wearing of face masks or respirators.
Avery Dennison will produce 500,000 of these disposable plastic face shields, which will be donated to U.S. medical and healthcare facilities most in need. Initial donations will be made to Ohio hospitals including the Cleveland Clinic and Lake Health Hospital System, as well as many other hospitals and organizations nationwide.
“At the Cleveland Clinic, we know we are most effective when we work together with our communities,” said Lara Kalafatis, chair of the Cleveland Clinic Philanthropy Institute. “We are grateful to the many organizations, like Avery Dennison, that have put their teams and expertise to work supplying our healthcare heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response.”
“We can’t thank Avery Dennison enough for stepping up the way you are for Lake Health Hospital System,” said Mark Flash, executive director of Lake Health Hospital System. “You are serving the community and our team members in an extraordinary way and directly saving lives.”
Avery Dennison also participates in several national databases such as Project N95 and GetUsPPE.org, created to connect PPE suppliers with healthcare providers to help put life-saving equipment into the hands of frontline health workers as quickly as possible in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. “We urge every company in the manufacturing sector that can repurpose production to join the battle against COVID-19,” said Neal Carty, business director for North America and senior director of global research and development, Avery Dennison Medical. “Our team has shown tremendous agility and creativity, which is a testament to their dedication during these extraordinary times.”
Avery Dennison Medical is currently developing other types of PPE in response to COVID-19. Organizations with a need for disposable plastic face shields and other PPE are encouraged to visit https://medical.averydennison.com/en/home/covid19.html.
Dow Develops Simplified, Lightweight Design for Face Shields to Help Protect Healthcare Professionals
To help address the urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) among healthcare professionals battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Dow has developed a simplified face shield design and is sharing its design through an open-source file to help accelerate production rates of this critically needed PPE. In addition, the company is collaborating to produce 100,000 face shields for donation to the state of Michigan for distribution to hospitals.
Dow does not typically fabricate plastic products for consumer end use. However, the company quickly developed the resin film technology for these face shields through its prototyping and fabricating capabilities at its Pack Studios application development facility in Freeport, Texas. Dow also worked with other value chain partners to identify a fabricator for the foam comfort strip that enables the shield to be worn comfortably.
“Our goal in offering an open-source, simplified design is to provide a way for others to increase additional production of much needed face shields,” said Diego Donoso, president of Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics. “This is another example of how our materials, technical service personnel, and our Pack Studios collaborative development capabilities are enabling solutions that can be used to help protect those on the frontlines of the pandemic.”
The face shield design is flexible, allowing for the shields to be produced from a variety of readily available polymers, and can be cut using several high-throughput technologies, such as water, laser, and die cutting techniques. It is also simple and lightweight, comprised of just two pieces—a shield and forehead cushion—which eliminates multi-component assembly that can slow production, allowing for faster distribution.
In addition to sharing the open-source design, Dow is producing 100,000 face shields to be donated to the state of Michigan for distribution to hospitals. Michigan-based tinkrLAB is serving as a key development partner providing laser-cutting and assembly and has already completed an initial allotment of production.
“COVID-19 has shaken our communities,” said Melissa Rabideau, founder and president of tinkrLAB. “Being a small business, we see firsthand the need from those on the frontline and even though we are small, we still wanted to have an impact and offer a solution. As a small business, we are able to mobilize volunteers quickly to do our part, but the tangible impact of a small/large business collaboration allows us to combine resources and the impact can be much more substantial. Being hands-on is in our DNA, so it’s only appropriate that we have a hands-on approach to helping.”
Several prototypes were field tested, and feedback from healthcare professionals including doctors and nurses was used to develop the final design. Face shields are often a one-time use item. However, when utilizing certain film formulations, shields can be disinfected and reused. The face shield was developed and is being distributed consistent with the limitations described in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s guidance and Emergency Use Authorization issued for face shields for the duration of the public health emergency.
Companies and individuals interested in producing face shields can access the design file online. Dow is also seeking to partner with other companies with film manufacturing and cutting capabilities to continue to develop this critical PPE. Interested parties should email email@example.com.
The Michigan State Police State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) is managing distribution of supplies. Organizations that want to request face shields need to contact their county emergency management office. Multi-county or state wide organizations can submit a consolidated request to MSP-SEOCPSL@michigan.gov. Dow’s website is www.dow.com.
Huntsman Producing Hand Sanitizer in Australia to Help Combat COVID-19
Huntsman Corp.’s manufacturing site near Melbourne, Australia, has become the company’s third location around the world to produce hand sanitizer for donation to health care and other critical facilities as part of the COVID-19 response. The Australia site’s first batch of hand sanitizer, a pallet of 27 15-liter containers, was provided free of charge to the Austin Hospital in Melbourne on April 7.
The team at the site collaborated with colleagues in McIntosh, Ala., and Monthey, Switzerland—where Huntsman is also producing hand sanitizer for donation—to learn best practices for cleaning and repurposing equipment to produce hand sanitizer. Huntsman also partnered with one of its customers, Fortis Adhesives, Coatings & Specialties, to obtain the base alcohol needed for the first batch of hand sanitizer and to package and label the product in various sizes for end use.
The Melbourne site plans to produce 22,000 liters per week of the hand sanitizer, which is validated for use in hospitals as well as the domestic market through the Australia government’s Therapeutic Goods Administration exemption. In addition to initially providing the hand sanitizer free of charge to healthcare facilities, some of the product will be supplied to retail stores to satisfy high consumer demand. Huntsman will sell to retailers at prices that enable it to cover its costs only and won’t make a profit from the sales.
“Our recent experience in Switzerland and Alabama allowed us to move quickly in Australia to help fill an urgent community need,” said Peter Huntsman, chairman, president, and CEO of Huntsman. “We are grateful that through our global presence we can expand our contribution to the fight against this pandemic.”
For more information, visit www.huntsman.com.
Lubrizol Contributes to Nike’s Efforts to Make Full-Face Shields for Frontline Medical Workers
Together with NIKE, Inc., Lubrizol is helping protect frontline medical workers fighting against COVID-19. To support Nike’s efforts to develop and donate full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to hospitals across several U.S. cities, Lubrizol donated ESTANE® thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) polymers, an important element in both pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Nike’s version of the full-face shield transforms elements of the brand’s footwear and apparel, including TPU. Lubrizol’s innovation team quickly evaluated materials, provided insights to optimize performance and re-orchestrated its production and supply chain to produce and donate the necessary material to Nike as part of this effort.
In addition to the full-face shields, the ESTANE TPU donation will be used in lenses for powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) helmets used in situations where medical professionals face the greatest airborne pathogen exposure as they provide critical care to infected patients. With Lubrizol’s support, Nike has shipped full-face shields and PAPR lenses to health systems in Oregon, where Nike is headquartered, and several other U.S. cities, including Cleveland, where Lubrizol’s world headquarters sit.
“We are grateful for the generosity of companies around the country as we build up our supply levels in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 patients,” said Lara Kalafatis, chair of Cleveland Clinic’s Philanthropy Institute. “This collaboration between Lubrizol and Nike demonstrates ingenuity applied alongside compassion and a sincere interest to help thousands of our caregivers.”
“These face shields will allow us to treat patients while keeping our front-line medical providers safe,” said Dr. Akram Boutros, FACHE, president and CEO of MetroHealth. “We appreciate this generous donation. It’s another example of the community coming together to care for each other.”
Lubrizol’s TPU polymer bridges the gap between flexible rubber and rigid plastics, which allows partners to apply TPU across a wide range of applications. In addition to full-face shields, Lubrizol’s TPU is being used in medical gowns, medical equipment, hospital mattresses, tubing, hoses, and medical devices for many other critical applications.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Nike to improve lives and support those in need during COVID-19,” said Rick Tolin, president of Lubrizol Advanced Materials. “Every day our employees enable products used across the world, and our team is fully committed to enabling our science and applications expertise to deliver even greater impact during this global crisis.”
Lubrizol previously announced a $2 million donation commitment to support COVID-19 needs globally. The company has contributed critical supplies to hospitals across the world, donated to Food Banks where Lubrizol has major operations, and supported local restaurants by purchasing meals for hospital workers, among other efforts. The company has also challenged its employees to contribute 2,020 virtual or at-home volunteer hours to assist organizations providing support in this environment.
3M Continues Fight Against COVID-19 with Aid for Relief and Recovery Efforts
In its continued effort to combat the COVID-19 global pandemic, 3M announced plans to provide $20 million in financial support to frontline healthcare workers, vulnerable populations disproportionately affected by the virus and medical research initiatives. 3M’s investment will be directed to community partners working to address critical needs during this global crisis.
“Since the outbreak began, 3M has addressed the COVID-19 pandemic from all angles and across all stakeholders, and this includes supporting our community partners around the world,” said Mike Roman, 3M chairman and CEO. “It’s important that 3M holds true to its core values during this pandemic by supporting our communities and improving lives. Throughout this global crisis, we will continue to look for ways to help in the fight against COVID-19.”
3M is the lead sponsor for Direct Relief’s newly formed COVID-19 Fund for Community Health. The company’s $10 million investment will provide community health centers with direct financial aid to support healthcare workers. A portion of this investment is dedicated to international markets responding to COVID-19, as prioritized by Direct Relief global insights.
“Direct Relief is so deeply grateful for the leadership and commitment reflected by 3M’s action today, which is keenly needed, will be put to immediate use, and epitomizes exactly what’s needed in this extraordinary time,” said Thomas Tighe, CEO and president of Direct Relief.
Another aspect of 3M’s giving includes funds for communities and families who have been disproportionally affected by the pandemic. 3M will donate $5 million toward United Way’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund as the agency works to provide critical resources including food, shelter, and rent assistance to vulnerable populations around the world.
3M will also provide $5 million for COVID-19 research and development initiatives at leading education institutions in the U.S. and around the world. This includes $2 million for the University of Minnesota, recognizing its Medical School as a federally designated infectious disease containment center.
Visit www.3m.com to learn more.