A week or so ago, I got a call from a molder in the Southwest in search of a partner that could help it make and distribute face shields. This molder had plenty of capacity to make headbands but was having problems sourcing a supplier of sheet.
We shared some contact names, but I know there are similar stories all over: Molders with expertise in one area eager to join what auto industry watchers call the "Arsenal of Health" but without the in-house capacity or contact list to make a complete product.
What you're seeing in response are new kinds of joint ventures growing globally with companies cooperating on a project. At the same time, trade groups such as the Plastics Industry Association or the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors are providing a forum to connect different parts of the supply chain.
Steve Toloken has one story from Ohio that involved toolmakers, molders, materials suppliers and assembly companies to make face shields. They had to work together, Matt Hlavin, CEO of injection molder Thogus Products Co., said, because of the size of the project and growing potential for shortage of materials.
"Really, the biggest challenge right now that everybody is seeing was being able to secure the material for the face shield," he said.
Hlavin said his group managed by getting polycarbonate directly from a Saudi Basic Industries Corp. plant in Mount Vernon, Ind., where Sabic both makes pellets and extrudes the sheet needed for the shields.