United Sewing Automation manufactures USA-sourced face masks in Mt. Airy, N.C.
House Rep. McHenry tours United Sewing Automation
Posted November 17, 2020
MOUNT AIRY, N.C. – United Sewing Automation, Inc. (USA) recently welcomed U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) to tour its face mask production factory, one of the only such facilities in the U.S. making American-sourced, surgical grade face mask, here.
McHenry spent nearly two hours meeting with USA's co-owners, Ben Webb and Rob Roach, to discuss the factory's operations, which support the continued demand for reliable and safe face masks for both children and adults.
The automated facility, which opened in August in response to the growing need for safety-verified Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) amid the coronavirus pandemic's nationwide spread, produces high-quality ASTM Level III face masks. The materials for the three-ply, disposable masks are sourced in Georgia, Connecticut and Indiana. USA said its factory is proud to support 48 local jobs.
"It's always impressive to come to Surry County to see the ingenuity and the inventiveness. We've got great entrepreneurs that are making American-made PPE to protect our frontline workers," said McHenry. "We really need to highlight how quickly they've gotten this put up and how intent they've been on making sure it's American sourced. I'm really impressed."
The factory visit is timely for McHenry, who is working to support American PPE companies such as USA on the federal policy level. The Congressman recently introduced The American PPE Supply Chain Integrity Act, which if passed would require the federal government to purchase American-sourced medical supplies and personal protective equipment.
Specifically, the bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs to purchase specified medical supplies (including disinfecting wipes and natural fiber products) and PPE (including surgical masks, face shields, and foot coverings) from products that are 100% grown, reprocessed, reused or produced in the United States.
McHenry's bill would help to answer a pervasive supply-and-demand gap for reliable PPE in the United States. Since the onset of the pandemic, America's reliance on imported PPE has caused supply chain issues. In addition, the United States has been flooded with cheap, inferior-quality face masks imported from China that do not provide the protection needed to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus. In response, USA's ownership team invested in automated equipment to manufacture American-made, medical grade masks that provide proper protection for Americans.
In September, the company reported excellent safety results from its ASTM International tests, rendering the products in compliance with the Berry Amendment and qualifying them for Department of Defense contracts. The face masks were evaluated in several critical areas: bacterial filtration, particulate filtration, liquid barrier protection, breathability and flammability.
"We are nearly nine months into this pandemic, and the need for reliable, surgical-grade PPE masks is still high," Roach said. "We're driven by the goal to provide every man, woman and child in this country with access to the same protective masks that first responders use on a daily basis. Our factory isn't slowing down any time soon, and we hope to continue bringing these masks to those who need them, in every corner of the country."
USA's ownership team has many years of experience in the textile and apparel industry and had the vision in 2017 to bring apparel manufacturing back to Mount Airy, N.C. through automation. USA's high-tech Ultrasonic welding machines and automated production equipment are capable of producing 1 million face masks per week.
Source: United Sewing Automation