Boeing workers in St. Louis making medical face shields


ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Instead of airplane parts, some local Boeing employees are making face shields to protect medical personnel from coronavirus. 

The shields are made of pellets manufactured by Solvay Specialty Polymers in Marietta, Ohio. They’re formed into sheets at a plant in West Deptford, New Jersey and then sent to St Louis. Workers here cut them into the shields and attach them to 3D headbands that are printed here. 

Solvay’s Marietta plant manager, Wally Kandel tells KMOX the shields can be sterilized 6,000 times.

"The plastic that we make is very tough. It's a very special polymer. It goes into a lot of applications for the medical industry. Dialysis filters, essentially we supply 100% of the material to make the actual dialysis filter," Kandel says. "Everybody in North America that's on dialysis, it's made possible by our product" 

Kandel says Solvay has a relationship with Boeing because its plastics are used in airplane cabins and in composites for the frames, so when the aircraft manufacturer decided to make the shields they were able to come up with the plan quickly.

"The idea was on Monday and we had a design by Thursday and an agreement on how we were going to do it," Kandel says. "In our world that's incredibly fast. It was mainly phone calls on what we could do to make it work." 

Boeing is expected to make a formal announcement on Thursday. 

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