Manufacturing Alliance Makes 750K Isolation Gowns

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19 reports that manufacturers in the state worked together to produce 750,000 isolation gowns for front-line workers at hospitals, nursing homes and emergency services departments in local governments.

Industry Products Co. in Piqua, Commercial Cutting in Mansfield, Sensical in Cleveland, Special Design Products in Columbus and Coyne Graphic Finishing in Mount Vernon retooled their plants to produce the gowns. Typically sourced overseas, isolation gowns – and the materials used to make them – have been in short supply during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are very proud of the work our people have done to help protect our health care workers – the front-line defense – from this horrible virus,” says Joe Blake, president of Industry Products.

The alliance ruled out gown alternatives that limited a worker’s mobility, failed to pass “rigorous certification testing,” posed cumbersome testing demands or weren’t sufficiently available, according to the Alliance.

“Finding innovative solutions is what Ohio manufacturing is all about,” Eric Burkland, president of The Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, says. “Through collaboration, manufacturers found an alternative solution to a complex, mission-critical product and pulled together a team to produce it at the scale needed to protect frontline workers.”

The final product uses a type of plastic that is typically used for polyethylene bags and packaging, according to Ethan Karp, president and CEO of the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, or Magnet.

“The team created numerous design options, then solicited feedback from eight Ohio hospitals,” Karp says.

Magnet and FastLane, which is based at the University of Dayton Research Institute, worked to solve design and production challenges. Stress Engineering Services of Mason certified the design.

“We were pleased to learn from a hospital that our final design was even a slight improvement to gowns currently being used,” says FastLane director Phil Ratermann.

Pictured at top: An isolation gown produced by members of the Ohio Manufacturing Alliance to Fight COVID-19.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.