Injection molding firm Westfall Technik Inc. is producing medical masks and mask straps and donating them to the health care industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
Las Vegas-based Westfall is making reusable masks at its Extreme Tool & Engineering plant in Wakefield, Mich. Procurement and sustainability vice president Allison Lin said in an email to Plastics News that company execs saw reports of individuals 3D printing masks out of their garages and homes — as well as multiple groups sewing cloth masks — "and knew that we could come up with a solution that could produce significantly more masks for our health care professionals."
Westfall's operational model delivers an integrated solution with in-house design, prototyping, tooling, molding, assembly and logistics, she explained. The mask project went from idea to molded parts in roughly 2 weeks. Westfall now can mold more than 4,000 masks per day and can scale up further if it finds more partnerships.
The mask was designed so that multiple, easily accessible items — such as elastic bands, shoelaces or any filter material cut into a circle — can be used in case personal protection equipment (PPE) is scarce, Lin said.
The masks are being made with resin donated by Nova Chemicals and masterbatch concentrates donated by PolyOne Corp. Westfall also is working with multiple customers and suppliers on various filter materials.
"The current plan is to donate these masks, along with any donated filter materials, to hospitals," Lin said. "We have a target list of hospitals accepting donations." She added that Westfall welcomes the opportunity to partner with organizations or companies looking to sponsor additional mask donations or to buy masks with a matching donation component.
Westfall also is making reuseable mask straps. The straps help health care professionals or others wearing masks for extended periods of time to avoid ear pain from the pressure that elastic straps put on their ears.
The straps went from design to molded parts in four days and are being molded at Westfall's 10 Day Parts plant in Corona, Calif. PolyOne also is donating material for the straps and Westfall is working with other suppliers for donated materials.
Lin added that some of the straps are being made with post-consumer resin. Westfall already has donated some straps to hospitals, including Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Calif. Westfall also is looking for more partners for its straps project, Lin said.
Westfall has made 14 acquisitions since being founded by injection molding veteran Brian Jones in 2017. The firm most recently bought medical molder Delta Pacific Products in May 2019.