Cincinnati soft goods manufacturer creates booties, masks, gowns during crisis
When the coronavirus pandemic took the nation by surprise in mid-March, Casco Manufacturing Solutions of Cincinnati knew it had to pivot quickly to keep employees working.
The 60-year-old, woman-owned, soft goods manufacturer, which makes products ranging from medical mattresses to wheelchair pads to virtually anything involving a piece of fabric, called in its production team and brainstormed a new line of personal protection equipment (PPE) products. President and CEO Melissa Mangold said Casco was making and shipping masks, gowns and shoe/boot covers by mid-April.
“We employ a work force of industrial sewing operators who really need their jobs,” said Mangold. “We knew that the best way to survive the pandemic was to innovate, so we did.”
Business has increased so much Casco is considering adding a second shift of workers, with a Saturday shift.
The new PPE is only made in the U.S.A., it’s affordable, washable and reusable, said Mangold.
The masks, gowns and covers are made of polypropylene fabric under its Casco C-Matt brand. The products are best used for frontline medical providers or medical professionals seeing patients, such as nurses, technicians or physical therapists. The masks work up to Level 2 medical care; Casco is currently testing Level 3 masks.
The PPE can also be used by medical office administrative staff; long-term care facilities; surgical centers; home-care health providers; manufacturing, meatpacking; retail stores; and the general public to prevent the spread of infection.
The products are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-registered, and can be washed and reused multiple times, said Mangold.
Casco C-Matt Reusable Face Masks are white, with a two-tie attachment. They are machine-washable and latex-free. A case of 200 costs $123 to $132 and will soon be available on Amazon for $158 per case of 200. They are not designated N95.
Casco-branded Black Shoe and Boot Covers (Booties) are made from latex-free, hydrophobic polypropylene. They also have a slip-resistant bottom and are sold in 50-pair boxes. Recommended prices range from $105 to $123 per box. They are also on Amazon in boxes of five pairs for $20; 10 pairs for $35; and 25 pairs for $75.
Casco’s white gowns are made of spunbond polypropylene fabric. Prices are $1,000 to $1,154 per box of 200 units.
“Throughout the crisis, we’ve been working and keeping compliant with Centers for Disease Control rules on distancing and sanitation,” said Mangold. “It’s been hard work, but it’s paying off. We’re working on three projects right now: positioning pads, sheets and a new Prevention mattress.”
Casco is also applying for an Ohio PPE grant.
A fourth product Casco has added to its PPE line is something it’s not actively promoting. Casco made body bags during the First Gulf War; it’s been making them again since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
“While we’re all tired of social distancing, we can’t forget that people are still getting sick and dying,” she said. “This is a sober reminder that the pandemic is dangerous. We have a responsibility to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others in our communities by wearing PPE when necessary.”
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