Sencorp Modifies Thermoforming Machines for Face Masks
Machine builder says its modified machines can produce three million masks per week to help protect frontline medical workers.
Sencorp Thermoforming, a division of SencorpWhite, Hyannis, Mass., has modified its thermforming machines to make face masks for the medical professionals combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Last week, the company’s team successfully modified two machines. Each unit has the capability to produce about three million face masks/week.
Medical workers and first responders in the U.S. are short on the supply of N95 protective face masks and shields. These essential components of personal protective equipment (PPE) help safeguard clinicians from accidental droplets containing coronavirus as they tend to patients, work in labs, and assist at drive-through testing facilities.
Said Brian Golden, Secorp v.p., "We received a call from a large PPE manufacturer of face masks to see if we could respond quickly to the unprecedented global demand. We converted two 2500 style machines typically used for consumer products in the plastic industry to run the material used in the production of the N95 masks. Our talented staff of machine builders stepped up to the challenge. With necessary modifications two machines were prepped for shipment in less than a week. Each machine is capable of producing about 3 million masks per week."
“With necessary modifications two machines were prepped for shipment in less than a week.”
Sencorp’s president and CEO Brian Urban also credited the company's skilled workforce for their dedication during this national emergency. "Despite concern for themselves and their families, our dedicated employees are working in staggered shifts to meet this unprecedented demand. These sophisticated thermoforming machines require a large skilled workforce that SencorpWhite has in place. In addition, unlike others, we are self-sufficient, manufacturing parts in-house so we can quickly respond in urgent situations like this. Our machines are proudly Made in America right here on Cape Cod."
Added Sencorp thermoforming supervisor Keith Blackwell, "We are happy to do our part. It is not without its challenges, but we are here to help. There is nothing more important than keeping our healthcare workers safe. They are the most important resource in this crisis."
The company has several product lines that are critical in the supply chain across America, including vertical carousels used within hospital pharmacies, medical supplies distribution, and grocery pickup. Also included are medical pouch and tray sealing machines that protect medical devices, consumables, and clinical supplies and the company’s software which is said to drive efficiency in the distribution and manufacturing supply chain.
After several fits and starts over the last decade, thermoforming IML appears ready for prime time, thanks to improvements in output and labeling technology. For now, the action is mostly in European packaging.
Low-cost wood is still king, but plastics’ reusability is a growing attraction among manufacturers looking for sustainable material-handling options. The one major hurdle is today’s high resin prices.
Liquid-crystal polymer extrusion resins cost over $10/lb, but when used sparingly in 2-5 micron layers, they can be cost-effective in barrier packaging films.