As the coronavirus pandemic spreads across the world, contract manufacturers and OEMs continue pivoting to meet the needs of front-line healthcare providers. Here are some of the latest examples:
Stryker (NYSE:SYK) recently announced that it has developed a low-cost, limited-release emergency response bed for use in hospital emergency departments, triage and pop-up areas of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency relief bed has a 30-degree head-of-bed angle to accommodate patients in respiratory distress, including ventilated patients. It also includes a 6-in-thick foam surface, low height and an attached IV pole.
Stryker said it is working on making the bed available in select markets around the world and anticipates producing 10,000 beds a week to meet increased needs.
“People are at the heart of what we do, and COVID-19 hasn’t changed that,” said Brad Saar, president of Stryker’s Medical division, in a news release. “It has amplified our mission of making healthcare better. We’re focused on meeting the supply needs of our customers so they can focus on taking care of patients right now. That’s why we raced to develop our emergency relief bed, which will help emergency responders and caregivers move and position patients efficiently during this critical time.”
Brussels-based Solvay recently announced that it’s partnering with Boeing to manufacture face shields to protect front-line U.S. healthcare workers from exposure to COVID-19.
Solvay said it agreed to supply high-performance, medical-grade transparent film to Boeing for the aircraft maker’s face shield production. Boeing approached Solvay because of its experience in the use of advanced composite and adhesive materials on multiple commercial and defense
programs, according to the smaller firm.
Manufactured by Solvay’s Ajedium Films business, the thermoplastic film will be manufactured using Solvay’s medical-grade Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) or Udel polysulfone (PSU), two transparent specialty polymers widely used for medical devices because of their ability to be sterilized and withstand aggressive disinfectants.
“We are honored to bring our product expertise to our customers in this time of crisis,” said Jeff Hrivnak, healthcare global business development manager for Solvay Specialty Polymers, in a news release. “Boeing is rising to the occasion by providing more durable, face shields now in critical demand for our heroic healthcare workers, and we are proud to help make that possible.”
More personal protective equipment (PPE) should be on the way soon from this family-owned company in Westminster, Calif.
Tru-Form Plastics said it has designed protective face shields in collaboration with doctors and nurses, with initial plans to produce more than 100,000 per week. Using Tru-Form’s thermoforming manufacturing technology, the company said it plans to boost capacity to more than 200,000 shields per day.
Each shield is made from PET-G or PVC thermoplastic, the same plastic the company uses to make the protective packaging for medical devices used in operating rooms. The shield — which covers a medical professional’s entire face — can be reused after being sanitized.
After fielding requests from health care professionals, Tru-Form design engineering & tooling manager Ed Hentges hand-delivered a prototype in 2 days and started a production line just days later, prompting the company to hire 60 additional temporary workers to help keep up with demand for PPE.
“We’re delighted to leverage our capabilities to provide the necessary tools to help protect our amazing medical professionals on the front lines,” said Jim Goode, president of American Innotek, the parent company of Tru-Form Plastics, in a news release.
“We pride ourselves on being nimble to quickly act on customer requests and adapt the design to provide the best possible solution for their needs,” added Hentges, who worked directly with the team at a Southern California hospital to design the mask. “Many of us have several close, personal ties to the medical community, so the chance to work with a local medical team and to help providers across the country is a true honor for us.”
American Innotek’s other production lines remain busy, as its Brief Relief urine bags and Dispose-a-John solid waste bags are currently in high demand for use when no traditional bathroom is available. The enzymes inside the bags create a safe disposal of the waste. Used by a variety of industries, the military is currently stocking up as it prepares field hospitals to help with the COVID-19 outbreak, the company said.
Polyzen (Apex, N.C.) reported that it recently developed medical-grade, personal protective gloves that are resistant to leaks, punctures, abrasion and chemicals.
The company said it is also working with other manufacturers, universities and the state of North Carolina on face shields, face masks, ventilator bags and balloons, bed tents for patient transport and other disposables to assist in protection and sterility. It specializes in custom manufacturing of polymer-based materials, films, components and assemblies for the medical device and life science industries.
“We are grateful to be considered an essential manufacturer for our existing medical device customers, and believe it is our ethical and professional duty to help during this dire need,” said chief technology officer Sunil Inamdar in a news release. “We are humbled and ready to work hard to save lives.”