Milliken Innovation Helps Boost COVID-19 Protective Face Shield Production

Major interventions needed to meet global PPE demand

PCIAW® member Milliken & Company have helped boost COVID-19 protective face shield production during the pandemic. Zach Adams, Milliken’s Global Product Line Manager, has written an illuminating blog on Milliken’s efforts to provide solutions for the growing demand of protective face shields and screens:

As our world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic many impacts, beyond those prompted by communities going in lockdown, are coming to light. One is the severe shortage of medical and protective face shields and screens. One key driver is the limited supply of raw materials such as copolyesters, a plastic material used to produce them and first and foremost, this has impacted healthcare professionals.

Milliken innovations are, at their core, solutions and, within this problem, they saw a way to leverage their capabilities to help solve the growing protective face shield shortage. Their material science experts explored, envisioned and collaborated with partners to help meet the demands of the healthcare industry, and others, for clear plastic shields as preventative hygiene measures.

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For the Milliken Chemical Division, the solution was clear – manufacturers would have to consider different options for their raw materials. Given the urgency to boost the production of face shields and screens, any plan would need to use alternative, but existing materials and technologies in a new way. Plastic manufacturers offered the readily available polypropylene, or PP, as an alternative material, however PP is naturally hazy, so they turned to Milliken, and the company’s NX® UltraClear™ polypropylene concentrate, to produce plastics with crystal clear clarity, suitable for healthcare industry face shields and other needed applications.

“We are all facing challenges brought on by COVID-19,” says Zach Adams, Milliken’s Global Product Line manager for Millad® NX 8000, the clarifying additive that produces NX UltraClear PP, “yet, we have been so encouraged by the teamwork across industries as we all pivot our capabilities to better answer the needs of our global community”.

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