BIDDEFORD, Maine — Thermoformed Plastics of New England (TPNE) is now manufacturing face shields for health care workers and first responders fighting COVID-19.
TPNE partnered with one of its customers, Alene Candles in New Hampshire to produce the face shields.
TPNE is donating the plastic shield, and Alene is donating the other components and labor to assemble the shields.
So far, the two companies have produced 12,500 face shields.
On Tuesday 1000 face shields were distributed to the Biddeford Police and Fire Departments.
"To be able to protect ourselves from a splash that may occur with patient contact and really any person to person contact," said Biddeford Deputy Fire Chief Kevin Duross.
Duross said the 500 masks distributed between the police and fire departments should last them two months with the amount of patients they are in contact with.
Paul Tyson, the General Manager of TPNE said this effort is all about teamwork in a time of national crisis.
"We have the ability to take large rolls of material and automatically die cut it into the perfect size. They are not being touched by anyone. Employees at the end of the machines wear gloves. The shields are boxed up, 200 a box and got out to people who do the assembly piece" Tyson said.
Face shields are a piece of personal protective equipment that health care workers and first responders have a limited supply of but desperately need in the fight against COIVD-19.
"It's a situation where we can't just make a couple thousand of these and say everything in Maine will be fine, they need hundreds of thousands of these things" Tyson said.
The demand says it all. Tyson said his company has had several requests from other companies not only for the shield but to partner up.
"We have said yes to all of them as long as the companies are committed to donating their efforts. For those who are fulfilling contracts, we have said we will support their efforts as long as they are selling their product at market rates. We have orders for over 600,000 shields to produce in the next several weeks. We are going to use all of our resources to make sure we facilitate the production of as many face shields as possible”.
When the company is fully up and running they will be producing 50,000 face shields a day and shipping them all over New England and Pennsylvania.
Tyson also had a message for anyone using a 3D printer to make face shields to donate or sell them at a cost: Reach out at TPNE. He's got the die-cut plastic all ready and available for pick up.
At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus