Three large textile companies in United States – Merrow Manufacturing, ColorWorks and Bolger & O’Hearn – have come together to help meet the nation’s demand for personal protective equipment (PPE).
The collaboration resulted in a quick response to the PPE demand and also addressed any future demand as the world continues to fight the pandemic.
All the aforementioned companies excel in their own niche.
Merrow Manufacturing and Bolger & O’Hearn based in Fall River have their own expertise. While the former specialises in high cut and sew operation for the manufacturing of hard and soft textile goods, the latter is a provider of high-powered durable water repellants which repeals oil, water and blood when applied to the PPE fabrics.
Bolger & O’Hearn also makes other textile chemistries needed to meet ASTM requirements for Levels 1, 2 and 3 for medical PPE.
ColorWorks, located in Elizabethton, performed dyeing and finishing of yarns of fabric which are used to make the PPE. The company was purchased by Ocean State Innovation (OSI) based in Portsmouth, Rhode Island in January 2020.
“ColorWorks relies heavily on the support of the R&D talent at Bolger. In March 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 per cent Bolger & O’Hearn products on all of the woven products we shipped to Merrow,” said Bryan Boulis, President of OSI, in a press release.
Merrow, a domestic manufacturer of soft goods, invented the over lock stitch and has around 500 sewing machines and few high precise fabric cutters.
Looking at the high demand of the medical isolation gowns, it quickly in time line of less than 2 years became one of the largest manufacturers of PPE in North America. It then collaborated with Bolger & O’Hearn and ColorWorks, as well as Dupont, to produce million units of PPE since March.
The company was even recognised by Rhode Island’s governor, Gina Raimondo for its high safety standards.