Eastman and Rotuba collaborate to create face shields for COVID-19 pandemic

Eastman and Rotuba collaborate to create face shields for COVID-19 pandemic
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Date: 6 May 2020

Rotuba uses Eastman material to transition operations from producing pens to producing splash guards.

In response to shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) in hospitals across the nation, Eastman and Rotuba have collaborated to produce face shields for medical personnel on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Rotuba will use Eastman cellulose acetate to create 75,000–100,000 splash guards per week to protect healthcare workers, small business owners, and citizens as they fight COVID-19.

Rotuba was quickly able to transition its business operations from manufacturing pens to manufacturing face shields by utilizing an existing material in a new application. The splash guards will be sold across the United States and supplied to first responders at the cost to produce them.

"Eastman and Rotuba have had a long relationship spanning over five decades of developing items consumers buy every day," said Adam Bell, president, Rotuba and Pen Company of America. "When we needed a reliable supply of cellulose acetate for these face shields, we turned to Eastman."

Eastman cellulose acetate is a versatile material that is used in a variety of consumer products.  It provides the necessary optical quality, chemical resistance to hospital cleaning agents, and ability to be easily shaped for this application. Rotuba's splash guards are comfortable and reusable, providing medical personnel with PPE that is sustainable and affordable.

"Eastman is proud to work with Rotuba to provide much-needed supplies to those who need them most," said Reinier de Graaf, marketing director, Eastman specialty plastics — diversified. "We will continue to work with companies across the value chain to quickly adapt their operations to meet unmet needs during this crisis."

These face shields will be a critical asset to healthcare providers striving to do their day-to-day jobs safely and effectively. Adapting operations to produce this PPE has also provided important job security for Rotuba employees.

"Keeping our workforce utilized by producing the face shields instead of pens has been a great help," said Bell. "Thanks to the support and continued partnership Eastman has provided, we have been able to keep 35 workers employed who might have otherwise been furloughed or laid off as a result of the crisis."

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