Shapes distributor and fabricator Modern Plastics has responded to the coronavirus outbreak by beginning production of face shields for health care providers.
Shelton, Conn.-based Modern began making the shields recently and already is scaling up to production of more than 1 million per day, President Bing Carbone said in a March 23 email to Plastics News.
"I have been affected like everyone else in the world by this coronavirus pandemic," he said. "Rather than sit back and do nothing, we decided we need to do something to help all the men and women on the front lines; the healthcare professionals, first responders and the doctors and nurses, especially right here in the state of Connecticut."
The shields are made of glycol-modified PET. Carbone added that company officials "know that the plastic facemask shields are in dire need and basically unobtainable." As a result, he decided to retrofit Modern's manufacturing facility into large mass-production for the shields.
Modern will remain open during the state shutdown in order to quickly gear up production. Carbone said the firm already has received an order from the state for 500,000 shields. Modern also has received calls from across the country, he added.
The shields are made with all domestically sourced plastic materials.
"This is not a cheap, inferior product and the best news is that it will be made in the USA," Carbone said. "We will be hiring a good deal of unemployed folks right now to help make the masks and fight this pandemic."
He added that the shield masks provide an added layer of protection and are not intended to replace the N-95 masks that are used in health care facilities.
The shields made by Modern also are being made by Laird Plastics, a shapes distributor and fabricator based in Akron, Ohio. Both Modern and Laird are owned by North American Plastics of Irving, Texas.
Modern already has received numerous emails thanking the firm for making the shields, according to Carbone.
"But it's really the first responders, our health care professionals, the doctors and nurses — they're the ones we ought to be thanking," he said. "I literally get goosebumps thinking that in our own way we are helping them and in turn we are helping to squash this virus and get everyone back to somewhat of a normal life sooner than later."
Modern distributes plastic shape products based on engineering resins including sheet, rod, tube and film. The firm also offers custom plastics fabrication. Modern generates about 60 percent of its sales from the medical sector.
Modern Plastics was founded in 1945 by Joseph Carbone, Bing Carbone's grandfather. The firm first did auto glass installation in the 1960s before moving into plastics.