Henderson Sewing Machine quickly introduces PPE production systems

Posted April 30, 2020


By Devin Steele (DSteele@eTextileCommunications.com)


The leadership and technical teams at Henderson Sewing Machine Co., Andalusia, Ala., had to quickly pivot from its normal products into PPE manufacturing technologies in order to support the cause, according to President & CEO Frank Henderson.


The Andalusia, Ala.-based company, founded in 1968, introduced new, automated face mask production systems to customers throughout the USA to manufacture pleated, foldable and cup-type face mask in an automated or semi-automated supply chain. Other semi-automated systems were introduced to manufacture other PPE products.


Henderson Sewing is shipping and installing equipment and technology for PPE production into more than 25 states, he said. The company has partnered with many vendors, customers, associations, as well as state and federal agencies, Henderson noted.


Among supply chain gaps, he pointed out that he has seen several supply chain shortages of nonwoven goods to feed automated systems for the production of PPE goods.


Another role that Henderson has played has been to serve as a “conduit” of information to connect the right players in the PPE world, he said.


Throughout the crisis, the company has retained “all of our valuable, talented staff,” Henderson said. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we brought all our staff together and determined this: ‘We have no idea what will happen in this pandemic ... but, we are all in this together.’ Everyone of our staff has stepped up to the plate and done whatever we have needed to do.”


Henderson added that his staff is taking extra precautionary measures every day at work. Each employee’s temperature is taking when they enter the building, they wear protective gloves and N95 masks and they practice social distancing, he said.


“The Henderson Sewing staff is proud to be involved in the COVID19 response efforts,” he said. “I’m proud of our staff, this industry and America.”


Although Henderson’s team is working their normal, eight-hour days, he, as the company leader, has put in much more time to help the company see its way through during this crisis, he noted during a SEAMS-SPESA joint webinar this week.


“I haven’t worked very many seven days and seven nights over the last 45 years, but I certainly have over the last three or four weeks,” he said. “I’m on about 20 regular calls a day and six or seven conference calls a day.”


But the reward has been enormous, he added.


“It’s a joy to see our textile industry working together to produce products in this country,” Henderson said. “These PPE products are essential items needed in America. I hope our government will tune in and begin to understand that these products are just as essential products as military uniforms, armaments and other items to the security of our country.”

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