May 28, 2020 1 Comment
We've grown to serve the Maine CDC, small businesses, and you!
Two months ago we announced our business pivot to make protective face shields for hospitals and clinics in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was a whirlwind experience, retooling our entire manufacturing space to make PPE, and though we managed to design, test, and start making quality face shields in just 8 days, we've continued to learn and streamline our production operation. Our ultimate goal: get face shields to all who need them, including small businesses and individuals. Now, as studies and articles continue to tell us how effective face shields can be to prevent the spread of the virus in communities, we are excited to share that we can finally make our face shields available to small businesses and individual consumers.
Since we first decided to shift our business to temporarily manufacture face shields, our goal was to this crucial PPE into the hands of those that needed it most. At the time, our priority was supplying hospitals and emergency clinics, who were facing massive shortages of PPE while fighting to take care of the large number of infected patients they received daily. We worked with local hospitals to design our shields, and began supplying them and other facilities around the country. As demand of face shields increased, we expanded our workforce, and workspace, to increase our output.
So far, we've doubled our team, and have acquired new machinery that lets us cut and prep the raw materials for the shields non-stop. Even more exciting are the partnerships we've made with local Maine manufacturers, such as L.L.Bean and Alfred's Upholstery, who help us assemble and ship our large quantities of face shields every day.
A nurse at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where we've sent over 50,000 shields. Right: Members of our production team channeling their inner Rosie the Riveter.
Thanks to these partnerships and to the dedication of our team, we've increased our output from 1,000 face shields a week to over 50,000 a week. This growth allowed us to step up when the State of Maine asked us to supply the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) with half of a million face shields. We're proud to be supplying our home state with PPE, and to be able to do so while partnering with other Maine manufacturers. Go Maine!
Since we sent our first order of face shields to MaineHealth, we've made and distributed almost 200,000 face shields to hospitals, clinics, and health facilities all over the country, to be worn by nurses, doctors, EMTs, and other healthcare workers.
Left: Flowfold face shield worn by an Infection Control Nurse at Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Hospital. Right: A team at Fresenius Kidney Care Casco Bay.
Through it all, as our operation has grown, we've been learning and improving our manufacturing process, increasing our output and decreasing our production time and waste. This also puts us in a position to offer face shields to small businesses and individuals.
As states start to lift restrictions and communities look to reopen safely, protective gear such as face shields and masks are encouraged, and even required, in social settings. Worn over the face, these protective guards act as barriers and protect your face from potentially infectious pathogens that can be transmitted during person-to-person interactions. Though face masks are currently more prevalent, face shields are beginning to get recognized as the more effective and convenient form of face guard.
Unlike masks, they cover the whole face from particles in the air, and greatly decrease the risk of pathogens transmitted by coughing, sneezing, and speaking. They are comfortable and are ideal for those wearing glasses or other facial apparatuses. They also allow for lip-reading and better understanding of facial expressions. You can read more about the difference between face shields and face masks in this diagram from the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA).
Many of you have inquired about getting face shields for yourselves, your families, and your friends, and now you can! (Thanks for your patience as we have worked to make this possible.) We will continue to work tirelessly to make and send shields to all who need it, and are grateful for the support and excitement you have shown us these past months.
We love our community, and are excited to offer you all some extra protection in these uncertain times.
Stay safe out there friends.
- the Flowfold Team
In need of protective face shields? Head here.
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