With personal protection equipment in short supply everywhere, Lincoln, Neb.-based HTI Plastics Inc., was among the companies scrambling to find face masks for employees filling essential orders for healthcare and packaging customers.
But not anymore.
A team of HTI Plastics engineers developed a way to produce face masks in house, and the company is now supplying them to employees and their families as part of its efforts to protect its workforce and continue injection molding operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Company officials said their responsibility to protect employees doesn’t stop at the end of their shift so they are also supplying face masks for their families to help prevent the spread of the deadly respiratory illness.
HTI’s engineering, tool room and production teams worked hard to get the tools into production quickly, according to Chris Reed, engineering director.
"Engineering had the design done within a matter of days. The tool room jumped right in to machining the tools and had the initial tools done within two weeks. We found that a quick adjustment to the design was needed, and the tool room turned around another insert within two days. The production group broke into their busy schedule to make sure we could run the tools. It was a great job by everyone,” Reed said in a press release.
Unlike a basic cloth mask, the masks developed by HTI are injection molded, in either a blue or red color, in two sizes. Filter material is then inserted into the reusable masks. The kit sent to employees and their families also come with strings for ear loops and assembly instructions.
The safety and well-being of employees is a top priority, HTI Plastics President Troy Just said.
“With HTI being a critical company to run, due to our product lines, our employees' hard work allows our company to stay open and meet our customers' needs," Just said. "Everyone has worked extremely hard during these trying times, and I am thankful for everything they have done and continue to do."
The face masks aren’t being produced for retail sale.
Founded in 1985, HTI Plastics is a contract manufacturer of pharmaceutical applicators for pre-filled doses of creams, gels and tablets for fungal infections, contraception, estrogen therapy and more; nasal innoculatrs for animals and livestock; containers for wipe applications; food packaging; sporting goods, such as crossbows, components for archery, fishing, hunting, soccer and volleyball as well as plastic handguns, pistols and rifle stocks.