Tru-Form Plastics , Westminster, CA, has shifted its production plans to develop a face shield protective mask for healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. The mask was designed in collaboration with doctors and nurses, and by leveraging the company’s thermoforming manufacturing technology, the company is able to produce more than 100,000 plastic shields per week and plans to boost capacity to more than 200,000 per day.
After fielding requests from healthcare professionals, the company says its design engineering and tooling manager, Ed Hentges, hand delivered a prototype in two days and started a production line just days later, which prompted the company to hire 60 additional temporary workers to help keep up with demand as health care systems across the world are seeking needed personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We’re delighted to leverage our capabilities to provide the necessary tools to help protect our amazing medical professionals on the front lines,” says Jim Goode, president of American Innotek, the parent company of Tru-Form Plastics.
Each mask is made from PET-G or PVC thermoplastic, the same plastic Tru-Form Plastics 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. A video of Tru-Form’s thermoform production process is available here .
“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,” says 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.”
“Tru-Form is able to quickly ramp up production of the face shields at a cost that rivals some of the lowest cost production in the world right here in the USA,” says Dan Gievers, chief financial officer. “Depending on quantity, our shields sell directly to hospitals for less than $3 each.”
American Innotek’s other production lines remain busy, as its Brief Relief urine bags and Disposa-John solid waste bags are currently in high demand to create a safe and healthy place for people to use when no traditional bathroom is available. The enzymes inside the bags create a safe and healthy 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.
American Innotek, a family-owned company, has been in business for 31 years. “We pride ourselves on our innovative, collaborative and creative approach,” Goode says. “A company will say, ‘we need this’ and we go to work, coming up with the best solution possible. When we were asked about protecting our health care workers, it was a no brainer to shift production in such a positive, helpful way.”