More non-medical manufacturers are pivoting their production to boost the supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Stationery and lighter manufacturer Bic said today it is manufacturing face shields at several factories around the world and then donated to local hospitals or governments. The Île-de-France-based company is also partnering with other businesses and academic institutions to produce a full-face mask with air filtration to be donated to hospitals, and is donating more than more than $1.5 million at retail value of pens, coloring products, other writing instruments, and razors to support local communities, hospitals, children and the homeless.
Separately, David’s Bridal (Conshohocken, Pa.) said it is working with Hudson, Ohio-based JoAnn Fabric to produce non-surgical masks for healthcare workers in hospitals and senior-living facilities. Beginning last week, alterations specialists at 258 U.S. David’s Bridal shops began sewing the masks that align with to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines with fabric donated by JoAnn Fabric, the companies said. The first 50,000 units are expected to ship to the medical facilities by the end of this week.
“It is an amazing thing to see how many individuals, groups and companies are stepping up to help in this time of crisis,” said JoAnn Fabric president & CEO Wade Miquelon in a news release. “We are proud to be part of the solution to the severe shortage of protective equipment, and this partnership furthers our mission to make 100 million masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19. By combining the talent of David’s Bridal alterations specialists with our fabric and supplies, we have the opportunity to quickly get tens of thousands of masks to healthcare facilities in desperate need.”
Bic said it began producing face shields at its lighter facility in Redon, France, at the end of March. The team there is producing 3,000 per day using raw materials the company already has in its possession, including packaging plastic, rubber and more. The first batch was donated to the local hospital and police force. Production of these and other face shields has expanded to facilities in Brazil, Greece and Tunisia for local hospitals and government agencies.
Production has begun on an adaptor to transform the Decathlon EasyBreath full-face snorkeling mask into COVID-19 PPE for healthcare workers in hospital intensive care units. The mask was designed by Stanford University professor Manu Prakash to completely protect the eyes, nose and mouth and filter the air. Today 50 masks and adaptors were delivered to the Brest hospital and 10 to the Redon hospital in France for use in ICUs. Bic teams in France are also using 3D printing to produce frames for safety glasses, as requested by a local hospital.
“I want to thank our team members for their ingenuity, passion, and amazing support for finding ways to leverage our resources and manufacturing expertise to help our communities,” said Bic CEO Gonzalve Bich in a news release. “We will continue our conversations with local governments, health authorities and industry partners to play our part in lessening the spread of the coronavirus.”