Cotton Inc March 2021
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WEST BRIDGEWATER - Technical textile specialist Shawmut Corporation has announced the creation of a new Health & Safety business unit that will produce US-made, health, safety and medical products, including its Protex line of personal and protective equipment.

A fourth-generation, family-run company with locations in North America, Europe and Asia, Shawmut specialises in manufacturing high-performance advanced materials for a wide range of industries, including automotive, medical, industrial, and military applications.

Shawmut had historically produced medical-grade barrier fabrics and certain inflatable and orthopedic medical devices but broadened its medical focus in Spring 2020 to include PPE for the COVID-19 pandemic. Shawmut now manufactures medical isolation gowns and surgical barrier fabrics and rapidly developed an N95 particulate respirator that will be available for sale in the coming weeks.

“This is a very exciting time in Shawmut Corporation’s 105-year history, as we delve deeper into the healthcare solutions space,” said CEO James Wyner. “We’re making a significant, long-term commitment to developing innovative US-made health and safety products not only for this period of great need but well beyond so that our country never faces a critical PPE shortage again.”

As part of Shawmut’s commitment to growing this Health and Safety division, the company retrofitted nearly 70,000 square feet of space in its West Bridgewater, MA manufacturing facility to produce isolation gowns and N95 respirators. The company also acquired nearly 60 tons of specialised, high-precision meltblown machinery from Germany, installed a fully automated and flexible production system to support its N95 particulate respirator line, and installed roughly 50 new assembly lines for gowns and masks, some of which are augmented with advanced robotics capabilities.

A key component of Shawmut’s rapid development process is an expanded materials testing lab and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that will allow Shawmut to test its products on site. The facility’s expansion is expected to create roughly 300 new jobs upon completion.

In addition to the multi-million-dollar facility investment, Shawmut has made several executive expertise hires to support the new business unit, including hiring a veteran of the PPE industry, Steve Walley, as Vice President of Sales. Walley will be responsible for the sales growth of the company’s health and safety unit with an immediate focus on scaling its Protex medical isolation gown and N95 particulate respirator products. Shawmut also hired meltblown material manufacturing expert Matthew Lee as Plant Manager of its melt-blown and mask manufacturing operations.

“When we started working with the state of Massachusetts and the Federal government back in the spring to provide much-needed medical isolation gowns, we were happy to do our part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,“ continued Wyner. “What we’ve learned is our deep background in advanced materials and process innovation makes our team uniquely suited to continue responding to and expanding production of this critically needed solution with a larger and more dedicated business unit. We look forward to helping healthcare and industrial supply chains with a new source of innovative, quality PPE solutions.”

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