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Eastman, Rotuba Collaborate on Face Shields for Coronavirus Pandemic

Compounder and profile extruder transitions its business operations from making pens to manufacturing face shields by utilizing an existing material.
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Eastman and Rotuba have collaborated to produce face shields for medical personnel on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Rotuba will use Eastman cellulose acetate to create 75,000–100,000 splash guards per week to protect healthcare workers, small business owners, and citizens as they fight COVID-19.

Based in Linden, N.J., Rotuba was quickly able to transition  from manufacturing pens to face shields by utilizing an existing material in a new application. The splash guards will be sold across the U.S. and supplied to first responders at the cost to produce them.

“Eastman and Rotuba have had a long relationship spanning over five decades of developing items consumers buy every day,” says Adam Bell, president, Rotuba and Pen Company of America. “When we needed a reliable supply of cellulose acetate for these face shields, we turned to Eastman.”

Manufacturing Responds to Corona Virus Pandemic

Eastman cellulose acetate is a versatile material that is used in a variety of consumer products.  It provides the necessary optical quality, chemical resistance to hospital cleaning agents, and ability to be easily shaped for this application. Rotuba's splash guards are comfortable and reusable, providing medical personnel with PPE that is sustainable and affordable.

Rotuba Making Face Shields to Combat Coronavius

“Eastman is proud to work with Rotuba to provide much-needed supplies to those who need them most,” states  Reinier de Graaf, marketing director, Eastman specialty plastics — diversified. “We will continue to work with companies across the value chain to quickly adapt their operations to meet unmet needs during this crisis.”

These face shields will be a critical asset to healthcare providers striving to do their day-to-day jobs safely and effectively. Adapting operations to produce this PPE has also provided important job security for Rotuba employees.

“Keeping our workforce utilized by producing the face shields instead of pens has been a great help,”  Bell adds. "Thanks to the support and continued partnership Eastman has provided, we have been able to keep 35 workers employed who might have otherwise been furloughed or laid off as a result of the crisis."

Rotuba is the largest independent global custom compounder of cellulosics, a wood-based polymer used in faceshields, eyeglass frames and tool handles. Additionally, Rotuba owns and operates Pen Company of America (formerly known as Rotary Pen), the only pen company still manufacturing pens in the U.S., which includes the RevMark brand of writing utensils.

Rotuba is also a leading supplier of profile extrusions for LED lighting applications.

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