SHAWANO, Wis. (WBAY) - Action 2 News has reported numerous times on a nationwide shortage of PPE or personal protective equipment. One Shawano manufacturing facility is helping to fill the void.
Demonstration of the Norolex protective gown. The Shawano manufacturer retooled equipment to produce PPE for health care workers (WBAY photo)
The Novolex plant in Shawano works 24-7 manufacturing bags for things like ice, fertilizer, and seed. But, when the coronavirus pandemic started, company officials wondered what novolex could do to help others.
According to Galen Killam, Novolex's Senior Technology and Product Manager "In this case, as we turned to COVID, we started to think about what could we do with our capabilities to be able to affect different items that are needed for the COVID response."
After retrofitting machines, Novolex is now manufacturing, widely sought after PPE. The Shawano facility is specifically making isolation gowns and by the end of the week, its production will be ramped up so much that it can produce three million gowns a month.
"They're not your traditional medical gowns, but they're very very close. And obviously they must be very well accepted because we're producing them at an extremely high rate. We're making lots of them. In fact, Shawano right now is producing for the Department of Defense," says Killam.
The gown production along with regular business has allowed Novolex to keep its full staff working. The company says business is so good right now it's looking to hire additional staff.
Killam adds, "The previous business that we had that kind of curtailed, maybe for a short little time while the COVID stay at home was happening in some cases some business was down and in other cases business was up. In food packaging a lot of our business was up because everybody was eating at home. Now that business is all coming back and so we're getting even busier."
And with the coronavirus pandemic lingering, company officials don't anticipate a slowdown anytime soon.