Long Island Manufacturers Retool To Make PPE

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LI companies are increasingly making masks and shields. (Getty Images)

Long Island’s manufacturers became unsung heroes of the coronavirus pandemic after companies ranging from defense contractors to Halloween costume makers started churning out personal protective equipment to help meet the overwhelming demand.

Farmingdale-based musical instrument maker D’Addario & Co. Inc. had its engineers convert a drum-making facility so that it could make face shields, as is building supply company Corinthian Cast Stone based in Wyandanch, vending machine maker Vengo Labs in Bethpage, and Core SWX, a battery charger manufacturer in Plainview. And making face masks are Ronkonkoma-based military aircraft component maker East/West Industries, Melville-based leather maker Graphic Image, and Rubie’s Costume Company based in Melville, among many others.

“It’s our intention to manufacture these shields as long as they’re needed in New York or anywhere around the globe,” said John D’Addario III, CEO of D’Addario & Co., which aims to reach a capacity of 100,000 face shields per week. “We’ve watched the incredible efforts of our healthcare and essential services workers all across the world with great admiration. While we cannot match the immeasurable efforts of these selfless heroes, we feel an immense responsibility to do our part in overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.”

The moves mirror similar actions larger manufacturers nationwide have made to help combat COVID-19 — widely considered the most significant business response of its kind since World War II — with the likes of Hanes making masks and ExxonMobil turning out hand sanitizer, to name a few. 

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone lauded East/West Industries for its mask-making partnership with the Suffolk County Sewing Consortium, a group of local fashion designers using their sewing skills to help with the cause.

“They wanted to do something to help our first responders, particularly for our law enforcement personnel,” Bellone said. “They wanted to make face coverings for them. And they put to work their expertise in design, and engineering, and production, and industrial sewing, to do just that.”

And with demand for PPE not waning anytime soon, these local companies have got the region’s front-line workers covered.

Related Story: Long Island Mask Maker Crosstex Working Overtime To Meet Demand

Related Story: Long Island Distilleries Making Hand Sanitizer To Help Fight Coronavirus

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