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SEAMS PPE Special Edition

Celebrating Our Members In Response to COVID-19

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SEAMS PPE Special Edition

  1. 1. SEAMS PPE SPECIAL EDITION MAY 2020 Celebrating our Members in Response to Covid-19 SEAMS, the National Association & Voice for the Sewn Products industry for over 50 years, celebrates our many members that have stepped up to produce PPE products to support our country's healthcare needs in response to Covid-19. With over 200 members representing 10,000 plus cut& sew operators, manufacturing facilities, textile producers and brands/retailers, we have created a network to supply components to open capacity facilities to produce thousands of gowns, curtains, masks, protective equipment, and more to meet the needs of our heroes and frontline workers. Historically, 80% of these products have been manufactured in Asia and Europe, leaving America in a destitute position when the virus hit us. Our members and industry is committed to bringing production back to America and have created our Made in America PPE initiative in response to this pandemic. CELEBRATING SEAMS RESPONSE TO COVID-19 by Executive Director Will Duncan A MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR MEMBER HIGHLIGHTS PPE PRODUCTION ACROSS OUR MEMBER COMMUNITY ABOUT SEAMS IN THIS ISSUE  PAGE 1
  2. 2. Cut-and-sew contractor LACorp, VA, which is part of a coalition of iconic American apparel brands including Hanes and Parkdale created in response to the urgent call of for U.S. medical PPE supplies. This supply chain was built “virtually overnight” to fast track the manufacturing of medical face masks to help hospitals, healthcare workers and citizens battling the spread of the COVID-19 disease, according to LACorp President Jeoff Bodenhorst Jr., who also serves as SEAMS’ president.  LACorp has pivoted almost 90 percent of its production to PPE. “Our world is turned upside down right now, just like everyone else's is,” he said. “I’m turning down enough requests today than I probably do in a year’s time. We’re all in this together and we all have the same goal. Luckily, we as an industry are seeing some bright points right now. Most businesses are really struggling, whereas in our business we are trying to hire people to keep up with demand.” SEAMS’ members that were willing and able to contribute to the PPE cause have been able to keep most if not all of their employees working and, in some cases, have been able to hire supporting new jobs for Americans. Contempora Fabrics, a NC-based knitter that supplies fabric for Major League Baseball jerseys and many other partners saw its normal apparel business abruptly decline the week of March 16 when the crisis started to heavily impact the Western Hemisphere and its customers began shuttering operations, according to company President Ron Roach said. “During that week, every hour, something changed,” he recalled. “You couldn’t plan anything for the next day. By the end of that week, for the first time in my 35- year career, we had to lay off 185 people on that Friday.” But things began to rapidly change when Contempora Fabrics was asked to join the Hanes coalition. By Tuesday of the following week, the company had reopened operations with about half of its plant personnel, he said. Today, the company is producing more than 200,000 yards of fabric a week for masks or gowns with durable water repellent or with antimicrobial finishes “We’ve seen the entire U.S. industry build this so quickly and competitors work with competitors, and people we didn't even know existed are assisting others, including us, on how to get things done and try to help flatten the curve,” said Roach,  “There are a lot of 15 hour days, but in many ways it’s been pretty fun to see and be a part of. One thing we’ve proven is the U.S. textile, sewn products and apparel industry can move quickly.” James Lopez MAY 2020| SEAMS MADE IN AMERICA PPE SPECIAL EDITION COLLABORATING TO DELIVER Let's take a look at those that stepped up from face masks and coverings to isolation gowns, from head caps to hospital curtains – our member companies have risen to the occasion to either manufacture these products or the equipment or components needed to make them, including yarns, threads, fabrics and antibacterial and DWR (durable water repellent) materials. And still others have shifted their focus to providing services such as cut and sew or dyeing and finishing to support the effort. SEAMS SPECIAL EDITION PPE | PAGE 2
  3. 3. MAY 2020| SEAMS MADE IN AMERICA PPE SPECIAL EDITION Henderson Sewing Machine Co., AL supplies equipment & technology as well as systems integration tools such as robotics and automation systems and standard sewing systems. The leadership and technical teams at the company had to quickly pivot from its normal products into PPE manufacturing technologies in order to support the cause, according to President & CEO Frank Henderson, the company’s 3rd generation leader of the family-owned company. Henderson Sewing introduced new, automated face mask production systems to customers throughout the USA to manufacture pleated, foldable and cup-type face masks in an automated or semi-automated supply chain. Other semi-automated systems were introduced to manufacture other PPE products, Henderson said.  The company is now shipping and installing equipment and technology for PPE production into more than 25 states, he said. “We’ve been drinking from a fire hose the last few weeks,” Henderson said.  "It has been a quick study and an interesting proposition, but I think our industry was up to the challenge. For us, it’s a joy to see our industry activated in a completely vertical supply chain here in America, with everybody working together the way we have been.” For Henderson, such an effort has been a long time coming, he said. “Some of us have been waiting most of our lives to see this happen,” he said. “For me it’s been 45 years – 45 years of seeing our industry gutted and decimated and shipped all over the world, to now being able to say these are essential items needed in America. These are essential items for the health and wellbeing of our people. And I hope our government will tune in to see that these products are just as essential as a military uniform or ammunition."   ACCELERATING AUTOMATION OF THE PPE U.S. SUPPLY CHAIN  SEAMS SPECIAL EDITION PPE | PAGE 3  “I think for each of us, it’s a new day, a new time, and it's an opportunity for each one of us to share, one with the other, and also I hope it’s an opportunity for us to build this vertical supply chain for things that some of us have waited a long, long time to see come back here to America. We can do that and we can compete with the rest of the world if we're equally yoked – not unequally yoked." Frank Henderson LET'S MEET OTHER PPE PRODUCERS Hamrick Mills, SC, a 120-year-old fabric maker,  is producing fabrics that are being used in scrubs, gowns, masks and other PPE items. Collaborating with SEAMS members to do production. HomTex Inc., an AL-based manufacturer of bed linens and other items, shifted its focus from traditional products to making cotton face masks for businesses and individuals. The family-owned company plans a $5 million investment at its facilities to manufacture another product in high demand – the pleated, 3-ply surgical masks used in hospitals and nursing homes – in a project that is creating 120 jobs and position HomTex as a permanent U.S. producer of PPE. Cut-and-sew contractor Hemingway Apparel, SC, through its participation in the Hanes-led consortium, has been tasked with manufacturing nearly 500 million face masks in a short period of time. These face masks will ultimately end up in households across America via FEMA.  “As a company, we are proud to be able to contribute in a meaningful way to the protection of our fellow citizens, and are sure that each of our employees take great pride in knowing that their efforts are making a difference in teh fight against this pandemic," Jim Hopkins, Hamrick Mills
  4. 4. MAY 2020| SEAMS MADE IN AMERICA PPE SPECIAL EDITION Carolina Cotton Works (CCW), a specialty dyeing and finishing operation, is processing fabrics for masks, gowns and scrubs in various constructions, including cotton, blends and 100 percent polyester, composed of spun and filament yarns. Some are being infused with antimicrobial and durable water repellent ingredients.  MMI Textiles, OH is a converter of a wide range of textiles, moved quickly to address the need for PPE during this crisis, with most of its products going to medical workers, and some of its customers are producing for consumers, as well. It partnered with a customer that was able to commit over 300,000 gowns to New York City health workers, and another that is making face shields for healthcare employees in Ohio.  Minnesota Knitting Mills (MKM), MN, made only a slight pivot into PPE and other medical goods to address the PPE demand. The company already was supplying PPE products and other related medical products, including medical cuffs and several types of fabric, but in lower volumes than it is producing currently. Clothier Design Source (CDS), MN offers expertise in apparel design, soft goods engineering, product development and manufacturing to enable private label brands to grow, pivoted into making cloth face masks, nonwoven masks and hoods, with most of its PPE going directly to the Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) to distribute to those who need these products.  LET'S MEET OTHER PPE PRODUCERS  SEAMS SPECIAL EDITION PPE | PAGE 4 A. Rifkin Co., a fifth-generation, family-run manufacturing company in PA., since 1892, specializes in reusable fabric security bags as well as mattress covers for hospitals and prisons, and recently has started producing face masks, covers for N95 masks, gowns and head caps. Shuford Yarns LLC, NC - a 140-year old company that provides a broad product line of spun yarns for the industrial, home furnishing and apparel sectors, is producing yarns for face masks, surgical gowns, hospital towels, diabetic socks, hospital socks, medical sleeves, military towels and blankets.  OnPoint Manufacturing, AL specializes in on-demand mass customization in a highly automated, advanced production facility, pivoted into full protective mask production in a matter of days and is now making about 5,000 masks per day and manufacturing some hospital gowns and scrubs – all new products for the company.  Apparel manufacturer National Safety Apparel® (NSA), OH is contributing to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) PPE initiatives in the fight against COVID-19. The company is working in partnership with the Hanes coalition to produce 1.5 million+ face masks per week in the U.S. and has partnered with a textile manufacturer and others to manufacture gowns, shifting a significant portion of its capacity to support these programs. "More than anything, everyone here at MMI loves our community, our first responders, our workers, our partners, our industry and America. Therefore, if there was any way we could be of help, we wouldn't let anything get in our way." Geoff Senko, MMI Textiles
  5. 5. MAY 2020| SEAMS MADE IN AMERICA PPE SPECIAL EDITION Gerber Technology, CT, which provides integrated software and hardware solutions to more than 78,000 customers in the fashion & apparel, technical textiles, & more industries, launched a one-stop Gerber PPE COVID-19 Resource page in March. Nearly 1,000 companies or individuals have signed up on the site, which offers a number of resources, such as production-ready patterns, cut files, markers and tech packs; setup of cutter parameters specific to the selected fabrics; training, software, equipment and service technicians to ramp up production; contact information for fellow suppliers and manufacturers through its PPE Manufacturing Matchmaking Program; and more.  Gehring Tricot Corporation, NY-based textile manufacturer founded in 1946, is making and supplying fabrics for medical masks, non-medical masks, hospital gowns, hospital curtains, medical bandages and other medical supplies. Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, Inc., IL a 137-year-old company that bleaches, finishes, coats and dyes woven, nonwovens and knit fabrics, is now supplying materials to be used in the production of cloth face masks, nonwoven antimicrobial wipes and treated fabrics to produce Level 1 and Level 2 medical gowns. “Our employees come to work every day energized. They believe in what we are doing and what our mission is – doing good in the world. We know we’re making a difference and in some cases, saving lives.” Wayne Wilson, Founder, Prime Medical LET'S MEET OTHER PPE PRODUCERS  SEAMS SPECIAL EDITION PPE | PAGE 5 Precision Fabrics Group, NC, has made protective fabrics for years, so it did not need to transition to support the PPE effort, but it has ramped up production of barrier fabrics used in medical gowns (AAMI Level I, II, III, and IV) and face mask components. Prime Medical, FL, the exclusive manufacturer of Clorox Healthcare™ Privacy Curtains and CloroxPro™ Scrubs and Lab Coats, pivoted its operations to produce CDC- compliant face masks. Brother International Corporation, NJ, created a “Powering the Mask Making” initiative to donate up to 100 state-of-the-art industrial sewing machines to accelerate the production of masks and address the shortage of PPE. Hart Bridges, the 19-year-old son of the sales manager at longtime SEAMS’ member Carolina Cotton Works, was sent home from college to study online when the pandemic hit, but he wanted to help the cause during the crisis. So, with the assistance of his dad, Stacey Bridges, and his connections, the freshman at USC launched a company, Rosleck Safety, to make and donate face masks for healthcare works on the frontlines and for the general public. Printcraft Co., NC established in 1930, specializes in the production of many different forms of tags and labels ranging from garment tags (printed and woven), law tags, heat transfer, poly-film, to thermal transfer and everything in between.  Unionwear, NJ supplier of hats, bags and binders for the promotional, fashion and uniform markets, shifted its operations to produce face shields and isolation gowns to protect healthcare employees.
  6. 6. S E A M S . O R G ( 8 0 3 ) 6 4 2 - 1 1 1 1 SEAMS is the Association and Voice of the U.S. Sewn Products Industry for over 50 years, consisting of more than 200 of America’s foremost fashion brands, retailers, manufacturers and textile providers. Supercharging the American Supply Chain, SEAMS is the most relevant force and go-to resource shaping the growth and resurgence of MADE IN AMERICA. By providing access to people, processes and products to move production back to the U.S., SEAMS serves as the hub for networking, inspiration, innovation, and intelligence to enhance members’ competitiveness, productivity and profitability in the new global economy.  SEAMS Members represent 10,000+ cut & sew operators ready and able to proceed with Made in America PPE production for America. Contact Us If you would like to speak with SEAMS leadership or representatives of any of these member companies, please contact:  Will Duncan, Executive Director Nancy Kinderknecht, Member Services,  Visit our Website to learn more about the SEAMS organization and our Member Community