Hickory Springs plants shift to making facemasks, gowns
HS Manufacturing, LLC (“Hickory Springs”), a division of Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company (HSM), a supplier of components for the furniture and bedding industries, has made an emergency capital investment in equipment to produce protective facemasks and medical gowns for healthcare personnel on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a press release.
Efforts began this week at three of Hickory Springs’ North Carolina facilities, including one in Alexander County, to support the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment across the country. Most of the initial supply is committed to public and private regional medical providers in the Southeast U.S. with plans to increase production capacity to serve greater U.S. demand.
Atlanta Attachment Company, a division of HSM, rapidly produced and set up 26 pieces of new equipment at Hickory Springs locations to increase the speed and efficiency of production. The equipment includes sonic welders for mask production and labor-saving devices to decrease the time required to make the pleats on masks and increase the output of hemming operations for both masks and gowns. The labor-enhancing equipment allows HSM to manufacture the products effectively and efficiently in order to support nationwide relief efforts.
“This is a company-wide initiative to aid our nation in a time of desperate need,” said Michael W. Hinshaw, Jr., chief operating officer at HSM. “We are fortunate to have the equipment manufacturing and sewing capabilities within our enterprise to help manufacture these critical supplies to aid in the fight against COVID-19. I am beyond proud of how our company has worked tirelessly over the last several weeks to get this new operation up and running in an incredibly short timeframe. These efforts demonstrate HSM’s values and reflect our family culture and our employees’ sense of duty to help our country however we can.”
The North Carolina-based Hickory Springs locations involved in mask and gown production are in Hiddenite, Claremont, and Lenoir. These locations have implemented additional safety measures including split shifts, distanced workspaces, and increased cleaning protocols.
In anticipation of the ongoing demand for personal protection equipment for healthcare workers, HSM also has plans to utilize sewers in its Transportation Division locations in Georgia and Ohio to double production output of masks and gowns. The company has prototyped the products in the additional facilities and is prepared to start expanding production further in the month of April.
In addition to the new masks and gowns, the company has developed an aluminum nose bridge component for medical masks. The 0.25-inch thick, 25 gauge aluminum strips are being produced at HSM’s Atlanta Attachment Company division in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The company can produce 50,000 units per day.
Atlanta Attachment Company is a manufacturer and global supplier of heavy-duty sewing machinery, packaging equipment, automation equipment, and other machines for the sewn products industry. The division’s product lines include machinery for mattress, apparel, automotive interior and furniture manufacturing.
HSM is a privately held company based in Hickory, with more than 30 manufacturing plants in 14 states. In addition to its core furniture and bedding markets, HSM also serves a growing range of customers in the transportation, packaging, healthcare, apparel and other industries.