Film extruder Brentwood Plastics Inc. is doing its part during the COVID-19 crisis by providing flexible plastic film to U.S. manufacturers for use in impermeable isolation gowns.
BPI officials in Brentwood, Mo., said in a news release that in April more than 1.6 million gowns were made from BPI polyethylene film. Orders for May were at a similar pace.
On March 23, BPI and its employees were recognized by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency as being essential to critical infrastructure during the COVID-19 response.
President Sam Longstreth said that the firm's work with aerospace firm Lockheed Martin is a good example of its essential work. Longstreth owns BPI with his brother Joel, the firm's marketing manager.
"When Lockheed Martin called, they were not really sure what specific material they needed to make the gowns," Sam Longstreth said. "At that time, we were very busy with a full truckload order for a legacy customer.
"We found a roll of what we knew would meet their requirements, and it was put on a plane that night. The film ran perfect on the test run," he added. "They then placed an order for enough film to make 110,000 gowns."
To date, Lockheed Martin has made more than 200,000 gowns from BPI PE film. BPI is not new to the health care business. For years, the company provided flexible plastic film for a variety of medical supplies, including ostomy bags, ophthalmic drapes, laparoscopy drapes and more.
"In an industry filled with commodity providers, we're known as problem-solvers," Sam Longstreth said. "When a life-or-death challenge like this comes along, it's gratifying to put our lifetime of experience to work to deliver a solution."
BPI makes custom PE film and lay-flat tubing using the blown film process. Markets served include health care, pharmaceuticals, foodservice, agriculture and construction. BPI has customers throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.