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Three US textile companies join forces to manufacture PPE

Aug '20
Pic: Shutterstock
Pic: Shutterstock
Faced with a global pandemic and massive personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in the United States, three large textile companies, Merrow Manufacturing, ColorWorks and Bolger & O’Hearn, each strong in its own niche, have banded together quickly this spring to help fill America's explosive demand for personal protective equipment (PPE).
"The result of this partnership was a fast response to PPE needs and an ongoing relationship that promises to help the country continue to meet growing demand for PPE across multiple sectors of the economy as we continue to fight the Covid-19 pandemic," three partnerning companies said in a joint press release.
Merrow Manufacturing is a massive, high-tech cut and sew operation based in Fall River, typically used by fashion and textile brands to make hard and soft textile goods.
Bolger & O’Hearn, also based in Fall River, provided the high-powered durable water repellents designed to repel oil, water and blood when applied to PPE fabrics, as well as other textile chemistries needed to meet ASTM requirements for Levels 1, 2, and 3 for medical PPE. A bluesign system partner, B&O is also known for developing chemical products based on environmentally-compliant materials and technologies.
ColorWorks, which is located in Elizabethton, took charge of the dyeing and finishing of millions of yards of fabric used to make the PPE.
“OSI has a long history working with both Bolger & O’Hearn and Merrow,” Bryan Boulis, president of OSI, said in a press release. 
“ColorWorks relies heavily on the support of the R&D talent at Bolger. In March of this year I reached out to Charlie Merrow (CEO of Merrow Manufacturing) in regard to his efforts to fill the PPE void both locally and throughout North America. Charlie presented his specifications and my team immediately reached out to Bolger & O’Hearn. ColorWorks has used 100 percent Bolger & O’Hearn products on all of the woven products we shipped to Merrow,” Boulis said.
In normal times, Merrow is a large domestic manufacturer of soft goods. Family owned, and in operation since the late 1800’s, Merrow invented the overlock stitch and its manufacturing floors in Fall River are typically humming with the sound of up to 500 sewing machines and a small army of high precision fabric cutters.
“Bolger & O’Hearn is proud to be at the forefront of the effort to rebuild the US textile industry’s PPE supply chain, and support brands and mills throughout the US, by developing the chemistries that help them meet our country’s urgent demands for medical gowns, curtains, lab coats and other essential items of medical PPE,” Kelly Murphy, co-president of B&O, said.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (JL)

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