The plastics industry is deemed essential during the COVID-19 outbreak, and most processors, as well as mold-making companies and equipment makers, are staying open to supply the components and products required by the healthcare industry. Over the past few decades, the medical industry has become one of the biggest markets served by the plastics industry. PlasticsToday has heard from a number of processors and mold makers giving us their status.
Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) President and CEO Tony Radoszewski issued a statement on March 20 requesting that all local, state, and federal governments consider plastic resin and plastic product manufacturers as essential in order to stay open when shelter-in-place orders are issued. “With more and more businesses being ordered to close during the pandemic crisis, it is critical that healthcare workers have access to plastic products. Single-use plastics can literally be the difference between life and death. Items such as IV bags and ventilators, which are of the utmost importance right now, have components made of single-use plastics. The single-use hospital gowns, gloves, and masks that protect our healthcare workers every day are also made of plastic. I would venture to say that every machine, piece of medical equipment, hospital bed, examination scope, and tool has a component made of plastic, most of which are molded to exacting tolerances, which is possible due to the resin and machinery being used.”
Wittmann Battenfeld USA is remaining open for business during the COVID-19 outbreak, having been deemed an essential business by Connecticut for supplying machinery, equipment, and support to numerous medical and packaging molders, who are ramping up operations to provide critical supplies to battle the pandemic.
“As of today, we have received 45 ‘essential status’ letters from customers who mold products that are critical to saving lives and battling this pandemic,” said David Preusse, President of Wittmann Battenfeld Inc. “We are doing all we can to support these customers with our molding machines, robots, auxiliary equipment, spare parts and customer support.”
Wittmann Battenfeld has received essential status letters from customers across the country, including industry leaders such as BD, Jabil Healthcare, Baxter Healthcare, Eli Lilly, 3M, Nemera, Flex, Cardinal Healthcare, Corning Life Sciences, Technimark, and Comar, to name a few. These customers are making essential plastic parts for ventilators, laboratory supplies, blood-testing devices, drug-delivery systems and more.
Some companies are taking steps to make their work places safer so that employees who are needed on the job can be in a healthy environment. Pyramid Mold & Tool, a mold manufacturer in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, is taking “precautionary measures necessary to help ensure the well-being of our employees, customers, and facility operations,” said Stephen Hoare, President of Pyramid Mold & Tool, a company that serves the healthcare industry.
“To support the health and safety of all, we are enhancing the overall purity of our facility by installing several Puro UV germicidal lighting systems,” said Hoare. “Puro Helo F1 and F2 disinfecting lighting fixtures, powered by Violet Defense technology, are FDA approved and are a proven method for surface and air disinfection using high-intensity, broad-spectrum UV-C, UV-B and UV-A light.”
Hoare said Pyramid is “closely monitoring” CDC updates, has implemented a “more robust general cleaning protocol that focuses on high-traffic areas,” and is “screening employee and visitor health before they enter the facility.”
R&D/Leverage in Lees Summit, MO, also has taken steps to protect its workforce to “ensure we can continue to work and meet expected delivery dates,” said Mike Stiles, CEO. “However, as this situation evolves, we must evaluate what is required to best keep ourselves and those around us healthy and safe.”