Indiana manufacturers stepping up during crisis to produce personal protective gear and products for health care workers • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine
Jordan Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Indiana manufacturers stepping up during crisis to produce personal protective gear and products for health care workers

The Acid Products-Prairie Packaging Co.
The Acid Products-Prairie Packaging Co. in Kingsbury, is producing hand sanitizer and hard surface cleaners to meet increased demands during the crisis. (Photo provided by the state of Indiana)

Manufacturers around Indiana are stepping up to produce personal protective gear and other needed supplies as well as equipment to help the health care industry during the COVID-19 crisis.

Information from Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said businesses across the state are answering the call to support the global novel coronavirus response effort. Indiana manufacturers are leveraging their resources, supply chains and Hoosier workers to produce personal protection equipment for health care providers, while business and community leaders have stepped up to source and donate additional materials, state officials said.

The IEDC, which has been working with business leaders across the state to help meet increased demand for personal protective equipment, has secured commitments for more than 2.6 million pieces of PPE. Of these, more than 1.9 million items are being made by 15 Indiana manufacturers across a diverse range of specialties, from automotive to RVs to caskets and consumer products, while more than 440,000 are being donated by Hoosier businesses and organizations, including Acclaim Graphics, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Indianapolis Colts, Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Toyota and Westfield Outdoors, the state said.

Jordan Manufacturing Co. Inc.
Jordan Manufacturing Co. Inc., a Monticello-based maker of outdoor patio textiles, has shifted production at its Indiana facilities in Monticello and Kentland to make isolation gowns. (Photo provided by the state of Indiana)

“It’s incredible to see Indiana companies shifting gears to help those who need it most right now, our health care providers on the frontline,” Holcomb said. “We couldn’t be more grateful for these companies stepping up and contributing in every way they can. They are true examples of how great the Hoosier spirit is.”

The IEDC has launched a website, which provides additional information on the state’s manufacturers producing supplies and equipment needed by health care professionals and first responders during the crisis.

The purchased and donated products are being delivered to the Indiana State Department of Health for distribution to Indiana’s hospitals, first responders, long-term care facilities and health care providers treating COVID-19 patients. To date, the state has received and distributed more than 375,000 items of PPE and expects to receive more than 150,000 items this week with deliveries daily, state officials said.

Region and North Central Indiana manufacturers are contributing to the COVID-19 response:

  • Sterno Products, which makes food delivery bags, has altered production and is making cotton masks at its facility in LaPorte. The LaPorte site is formerly known as TCB Manufacturing.
  • MonoSol, which has operations in Merrillville and produces water soluble products used in several items including laundry detergent pods, has donated assorted medical personal protective equipment to Region groups and in communities where it operates. The company's overseas operations also has increased production of healthcare laundry bags.
  • The Acid Products-Prairie Packaging Co. (LaPorte County), an independent chemical distributor specializing in the packaging and distribution of chemicals and blends, is now helping meet demand for hand sanitizer and hard surface cleaners. The company’s Kingsbury facility is providing hand sanitizer to the state and also donated supplies to first responders in LaPorte County.
  • GDC Inc. of Goshen (Elkhart County), a provider of products and components to a range of industries, plans to start manufacturing disposable full face shields in April and expects to provide 500,000 pieces to the state.
  • Top Stitch (Elkhart County) is a family-owned commercial sewing business that serves diverse industries, including RVs, equine supplies, interior design and hospitality. The company has applied its textile experience to the healthcare industry and is now making medical gowns and surgical face masks, filling orders to the state as well as to customers in the Northeastern U.S.
  • Worldcell Extrusions (Elkhart County), which has been manufacturing thermoplastic foams for the packaging industry since 2015, has adjusted production at its 90,000-square-foot facility in Elkhart to produce lightweight face shields for medical workers.
  • Jordan Manufacturing Co. Inc. (Newton & White Counties), a Monticello-based family owned and operated business, produces outdoor patio textiles, such as cushions, umbrellas, furniture, curtains, beverage buddies, bean bags and indoor cushions, has shifted production at its Indiana facilities in Monticello and Kentland to make isolation gowns to support healthcare providers, producing 11,500 for the state.

The state said these Indiana manufacturers also have shifted production to produce critical supplies:

  • Berry Global Group Inc. (Vanderburgh County), a global, Evansville-based Fortune 500 company, is accelerating production of plastic face shields and aims to soon reach production of 150,000 per week. The company will provide 30,000 face shields to the state. The company is also leveraging the support of Evansville-based suppliers for foam materials and elastic cutting.
  • Fatheadz Eyewear (Marion County), founded in Indianapolis in 2004, creates and offers eyewear specifically tailored to customers with heads too large to fit in standard width sunglasses comfortably, has shifted its operations to produce fluid protective goggles, safety glasses and shields and plans to fulfill an order of several thousand items to the state yet this week.
  • Fleece Performance Engineering (Hendricks County), established in 2008, is a manufacturer of automotive products headquartered in Pittsboro. The company, which makes products such as turbochargers, fuel system components and repair parts, has redeployed its engineers and a portion of its flexible manufacturing space to develop, test, document and begin producing lightweight disposable full face shields. The company now has the capacity to produce up to 250,000 per week.
  • Hentz Manufacturing (Allen County) has been in the business of textile design and manufacturing since 1994, providing scalable solutions for brands like Disc-O-Bed, Vera Bradley, Harris and Cinda B. The company’s Fort Wayne facility has started production of isolation gowns, face masks and face shields and has already filled initial orders for the state. Hentz, which is now in its fourth week of PPE production, has already produced 46,600 PPE items as of April 10. The company is ramping up its team to meet demand, hiring 25 new Hoosiers already with more job openings on the way.
  • Mastercraft (LaGrange County), the world’s largest maker of RV furniture, has been serving manufacturers and direct consumers since 1971. The LaGrange-based company is now using its expertise to manufacture non-medical isolation gowns, producing thousands each week.
  • Mursix Corp. (Delaware County), which specializes in stamping and component manufacturing, serves a wide range of customers whose applications range from hospital beds to automotive safety to hybrid electric vehicles. The Yorktown company is now manufacturing up to 500,000 face shields each week.
  • Royer Corp. (Jefferson County), a manufacturer of custom injection molded food service equipment, custom swizzle sticks, beverage stirrers, picks and a variety of branded promotional products, is utilizing its resources to create face shields for medical workers. The Madison-based, family-owned company plans to produce 75,000 weekly pieces, sending 20,000 to support the state’s efforts so far. Royer has partnered with Clifty Engineering, also based in Madison, to fabricate and build an additional die cutting machine, which will double its output of face shields.
  • SuperATV (Jefferson County), a provider of aftermarket All-Terrain Vehicles (ATV) and Utility Task Vehicles (UTV) parts and accessories, has shifted production to make lightweight full face shields, intubation shields and retail employee protective barriers, with plans to produce face shields for the state’s front-line workers.
  • Tiedemann-Bevs Industries (TBI) (Wayne County), has been operating in Richmond since 1974. TBI, which manufactures interior casket components and distributes essential textiles to hundreds of casket manufacturers in the industry, is now producing 1,000 isolation gowns per week.
  • Williams Distribution (Marion County), a minority-owned chemical distribution company in Indianapolis, helps manufacturers with supply chain simplification, product sourcing and on time delivery. The company is leveraging its expertise to support the increased need for PPE and is shipping nearly 48,000 items, including hand sanitizer, medical gowns and gloves, to the state.

The state has ordered more than: 1 million face masks, 763,000 face shields, 141,000 gloves, 68,000 gowns, 10,000 goggles, and 6,700 bottles of hand sanitizer. The IEDC, which expects these figures to grow, has been in conversation with more than 450 additional Hoosier companies that have pledged their assistance and are exploring ways to support PPE production and procurement as well as related services.

The IEDC said the total number of PPE donations is likely much higher than 440,000 as Indiana businesses, charitable organizations and residents across the state have been donating items directly to hospitals and to shelters in their local communities.

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