Global materials firm Covestro AG is ramping up production at plants in Ohio and Massachusetts to meet medical market needs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Covestro's compounding plant in Newark, Ohio, is working to supply polycarbonate-based compounds used in medical products ranging from drug delivery devices to oxygen concentrators and insulin pens.
"Some of these medical compounds are standard products for us, but we've seen changes in order sizes and timing," Plant Manager Rich Rogers said in an April 22 interview with Plastics News. "We're getting a lot of rush orders for larger amounts than usual."
The plant also has been challenged by some customers making medical products for the first time.
Covestro's Newark plant recently was able to complete a color match and begin producing material for a ventilator part in 48 hours. "We pride ourselves on our color capability," Rogers said.
The plant, which employs 150 Covestro workers and 50 contractors, also hasn't been at full staffing during the crisis.
"We've never been more than 10 percent down, but some people have been missing for health conditions if they're at risk," Rogers explained.
Covestro also made efforts to show employees that working in the plant was safe by using touchless equipment and temperature screenings. "We made sure to let them know what our mission is and where our products are going," Rogers said.
In South Deerfield, Mass., Covestro's PC film plant has been making material used in medical face shields. Officials said the plant received a year's worth of orders for that type of film in just two months.
The plant now is running 24 hours to make the film, which provides a flexible protective barrier against respiratory spray and droplets. Officials said that Covestro "is tapping its global presence" to meet increased orders for the shields.
Covestro is a global plastics and chemicals firm based in Leverkusen, Germany, with North American headquarters in Pittsburgh. The firm employs more than 17,000 worldwide and posted sales of more than $13 billion in 2019.