As the spread of COVID-19 exposes shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in healthcare facilities across the country, manufacturers continue to step up and donate their time, equipment and expertise to help fill the gaps. Today, we learned about a project spearheaded by specialty chemicals company Lubrizol and Nike, who are collaborating to produce full-face shields and powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses. They are donating the products to hospitals in U.S. cities as part of an effort to protect frontline medical workers battling COVID-19. So far, the face shields and lenses have been shipped to healthcare providers in Oregon, where Nike has its headquarters; Cleveland, where Lubrizol’s headquarters sit; as well as several other cities.
Lubrizol and Nike are collaborating to produce full-face shields and lenses for powered air-purifying respirators to help protect frontline medical workers fighting against COVID-19. Image courtesy Nike.
Lubrizol donated its Estane thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) polymers for the project; the materials are used to manufacture both pieces of PPE.
In a press release, Lubrizol said that its 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.
In addition to the full-face shields, the Estane TPU will be used to produce lenses for PAPR helmets, which are used when medical professionals face airborne pathogen exposure as they provide critical care to infected patients.
“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 MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE. “We appreciate this generous donation. It’s another example of the community coming together to care for each other."
Estane is a versatile TPU that bridges the gap between flexible rubber and rigid plastics, Lubrizol explained in the press release. It is used across a range of applications in addition to the full-face shields, including medical gowns, hospital mattresses, tubing, hoses and other medical equipment and devices.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Nike to improve lives and support those in need during COVID-19,” said Rick Tolin, President, 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.”
Earlier this month, Lubrizol 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 also has challenged its employees to contribute 2,020 virtual or at-home volunteer hours to assist organizations providing support in this environment.