Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, molders in the plastics industry globally have been proactive in meeting the call for help.
At first, it was the donation of surplus equipment to affected areas, but as COVID-19 has taken hold across the world, companies are doing more.
For some firms deemed nonessential, that action has meant the very difficult decision of closing production to answer the demand for social distancing. (And the owners of these companies deserve an extra shout of praise, in my opinion. That is a very bitter pill to swallow.)
Those companies still open generally fall into two camps: Either they were already medical suppliers or suppliers to the food industry that have found more and more ways to increase production, or they've adapted existing lines to begin making entirely new production.
This week's issue of Plastics News has a few examples of those moves.
In one, Bill Bregar reports on Teel Plastics Inc., which was already one of only two companies globally supplying the thin shafts used in COVID-19 testing swabs.
Teel shipped 4 million swabs in just one week.
"We'll be running for five weeks straight, and that includes Easter Sunday," said Teel President Tommy Thompson.
In another case, Sarah Kominek's roundup of layoffs in the auto industry notes that Toronto's ABC Technologies, which had to close plants when automakers shuttered production, has been tapped to make parts for General Motors Co.'s ventilator project.
"ABC will be responsible for approximately 20 specific components for both hospital and field-unit ventilators. Production will begin as soon as April 10 at ABC's automotive components manufacturing facilities in Brampton, Ontario, and Gallatin, Tenn.," the company said.