Shawmut Corporation has announced the creation of a new health and safety business unit that will apply the company’s trademark advanced materials, textile manufacturing and process innovation techniques to producing high-quality, U.S.-made, health and safety products, including its Protex™ line of U.S.-made PPE.
A fourth-generation, family-run, global company with locations in North America, Europe and Asia, Shawmut specializes in manufacturing high-performance advanced materials for a wide range of industries, including automotive, medical, industrial and military applications. Shawmut had historically produced medical-grade barrier fabrics and certain inflatable and orthopedic medical devices but broadened its medical focus in 2020 to include PPE for the COVID-19 pandemic. Shawmut now manufactures medical isolation gowns and surgical barrier fabrics and rapidly developed an N95 particulate respirator that will be available for sale in the coming weeks.
To grow its health and safety division, the company retrofitted nearly 70,000 square feet of space in its West Bridgewater, Mass., manufacturing facility to produce isolation gowns and N95 respirators. The company also acquired nearly 60 tons of specialized, high-precision melt-blown machinery from Germany, installed a fully automated and flexible production system to support its N95 particulate respirator line, and installed roughly 50 new assembly lines for gowns and masks, some of which are augmented with advanced robotics capabilities. A key component of Shawmut’s rapid development process is an expanded materials testing lab and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment that will allow Shawmut to test its products on site. The facility’s expansion is expected to create roughly 300 new jobs upon completion.
In addition to the multi-million-dollar facility investment, Shawmut has made several executive expertise hires to support its new business unit, including hiring a veteran of the PPE industry, Steve Walley, as vice president of sales. Walley will be responsible for the sales growth of the company’s health and safety unit with an immediate focus on scaling its Protex medical isolation gown and N95 particulate respirator products. Shawmut also hired melt-blown material manufacturing expert Matthew Lee as plant manager of its melt-blown and mask manufacturing operations. Lee has more than 20 years of high-end melt-blown and non-woven finishing management experience. Additionally, the company has made key executive investments in marketing, product management and engineering expertise, drawing from major PPE, industrial safety and healthcare companies to rapidly deploy the new business unit.