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Nike makes full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses

To support healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19

Nike is not making ventilators. The international footwear maker has tuned an entire division to make personal protective equipment, (PPE) for frontline health care workers. Working closely with health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), Nike’s innovation, manufacturing and product teams have come together to provide for an urgent need: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the form of full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Without proper facial protection, healthcare workers are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, which could place substantial strain on the healthcare workforce in the months ahead,” says Miko Enomoto, M.D., associate professor of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine, OHSU School of Medicine. “The full-face shields help protect healthcare workers’ faces and also help to prolong the length we can safely use a surgical or N95 mask. Nike’s generous response to the COVID-19 crisis helps to instill an added layer of confidence and support for healthcare workers, that we can safely carry out the jobs we were born to do.”

PAPR helmet is used in situations with the most airborne pathogen exposure and is essential to the most critical procedures and care of infected patients. Nike’s PAPR lenses take the same TPU as the face masks, and have welded segments to fit the specifications of PAPR helmets.

Heidi Paulson, R.N., B.S.N., left, and Miko Enomoto, M.D., try out the new PAPR respirator lenses. Enomoto says face shields and PAPR lenses are among the most depleted, yet critical, PPE supplies in the nation.

While both shield and lens are a new output for Air MI, specialization in custom extrusion of polyurethane film and sheet makes the facilities uniquely suited to serving this urgent need. Nike’s St. Charles, Missouri, facility has decades of experience in designing, developing and manufacturing an extensive range of TPU-based products. To serve the current response, Air MI is rapidly adapting its capacities, while also adopting new production line procedures in keeping with rapidly-changing government guidelines.

In addition to Oregon and Boston, Nike is donating full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to health systems in Memphis, Tenn., home of Nike’s Mid-South distribution centers; St. Louis, where Nike’s Air MI facility in nearby St. Charles is playing a vital role in the development of this PPE; and Cleveland, Ohio, near the home of Lubrizol, which has generously donated its ESTANE® thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) polymers to support the manufacturing of this PPE.

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