IndustryNet Blog

U.S. Manufacturers Retool to Produce Lifesaving Supplies Amid Coronavirus Fight

Posted by IndustryNet on Tuesday, March 24, 2020

100000484_furniture company turned mask manufacturer2

Photo: Jeff Kass of Kass Tailored, a furniture manufacturer that retooled its facility in 48 hours to produce protective gear for health care workers. (Photo Credit: KOMO ABC 4 News, Washington)

As the coronavirus pandemic intensifies, manufacturers nationwide are stepping up to provide much needed supplies to save patients and help stop the spread of the disease. From automakers making ventilators and distilleries making hand sanitizer, U.S. manufacturing has quickly shifted and evolved in unprecedented ways to meet the demands of this growing crisis.

According MNI’s database of 400,000 U.S. manufacturers, there are currently 4,016 U.S. manufacturers of surgical and medical appliances, instruments and supplies. Many of these companies are scrambling to meet current demand, but much more help is needed.

Although some manufacturers have shut their doors temporarily, others have sought exemptions in states with “Stay-at-Home” orders and have retooled their facilities to help meet surging demand for critical supplies.

In our home state of Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker recently announced a partnership with the Illinois Manufacturers Association and the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization to retool some of the state’s manufacturing facilities and ramp up production of personal protective devices such as N95 masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators and sanitizer.

Yet even in the absence or direct orders from state or local authorities, industrial companies are taking the initiative, and repurposing their facilities in often clever ways to serve the public, exemplifying the ingenuity and fortitude of our industrial sector during challenging times. Let’s take a look:

From Happy Hour to Cleaning Power

Distilleries and breweries across the country are now trading beer and spirits for batches of hand sanitizer.

Anheuser-Busch, which has a history of producing emergency bottled water supplies in times of need, was one of the largest companies to announce plans to produce hand sanitizer. The king of beer is now producing vats of sanitizer at its Van Nuys, California and Baldwinsville, NY facilities.

In addition, small distilleries across the country have stepped up. In our hometown, Chicago’s Koval Distillery, producer of small-batch spirits, is making hand sanitizer as well."Like in any other war effort, people are asked to step up and right now hand sanitizer is needed a lot more than whiskey," effort Co-founder Sonat Birnecker Hart told ABC 7.

Other distilleries making hand sanitizer include Duluth-based Vikre Distillery and Pernod Richard USA, maker of Absolute Vodka.

In Time of Crisis, a Supply Chain is Born

Ventilators are a crucial component to treatment of coronavirus patients, but a worldwide shortage is threatening the recovery of those in critical care.

A number of manufacturers, including automakers, are coming forth with ideas for meeting the supply gap.

According to Crain’s Detroit, an “Arsenal of Health” has sprung into action in the Detroit area, with GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler teaming up to produce and supply components critical to the manufacture of ventilators, masks and other supplies.

In an incredibly fast response, other manufacturers are mobilizing to help the Big Three. Meridian LightWeight Technologies is helping GM procure compressor parts needed to make the ventilators, while Creative Foam Corp. is now producing foam parts for the ventilators.

Amid Mask Shortage, Furniture, Apparel Manufacturers Change Face

Crucial to fighting the spread of coronavirus are protective gear like surgical masks and gowns. The U.S. has been facing a massive shortfall of the N95 masks with only one domestic manufacturer of such masks. Now, all types of establishments, from furniture and apparel manufacturers to fashion design houses are stepping up to make these crucial supplies.

Kass Tailored, a furniture upholsterer in Washington State, has recently retooled its facility within 48 hours and is now producing protective gear in response to crisis. The company has even posted specifications and instructions for making the masks for other manufacturers to follow, drawing interest from potential mask manufacturers around the world.

Related: How This Small Illinois Manufacturer Made 2.5 Million Gloves in 48 Hours for WWI Troops

Meanwhile, fashion designer Christian Siriano has set his seamstresses to work on producing masks, while Dov Charney, founder of American Apparel has started up mask production at the company’s formerly idled facilities in Los Angeles.

U.S. Biotech Pushes for Vaccine

Meanwhile, the race to find a vaccine continues and U.S. biotech companies have gone into overdrive.

Among them is Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Novavax, and San Francisco-based infectious disease company Vir Biotechnology. Bost,on-based biotech firm Moderna is developing an experimental vaccine for the virus, while Regeneron, a biotech company in Tarrytown, NY is also in the process of developing antibody treatments for COVID-19.

Source Local and Communicate Effectively with MNI's Industrial Solutions

It is an especially crucial time for U.S. manufacturers and industrial suppliers, as production demand for vital products and services surges.

Since, 1912, MNI has been a go-to resource, profiling 400,000 U.S. manufacturers and suppliers of more than 10,000 products and services. If you need industrial products, services or supplies, or want to contact manufacturers directly, learn about our solutions.


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