AUTHOR: SEAN ROSS
SHOWA Group – the only domestic manufacturer of single-use, nitrile PPE gloves – last week hosted Congressman Robert Aderholt (AL-04) at its Fayette, Alabama, manufacturing facility.
SHOWA executives provided Aderholt with a tour, showcasing the progress SHOWA has made with its facility expansion that began in December 2019.
The company is in the midst of implementing two additional high-speed monorail production lines, which will double its current glove manufacturing capacity. The project’s anticipated completion date is April.
“This is already an impressive facility and they are still expanding. Every day they are producing somewhere around 600 thousand latex gloves that are being shipped all across the United States for healthcare workers and first responders to use,” Aderholt said in a statement to Yellowhammer News.
“It was fascinating to see how these gloves are made. A mold that looks like a human hand goes down into this latex liquid and when it comes out there is a latex glove on it,” he advised.
SHOWA’s presence in Fayette dates back 30 years, when the facility’s first production line was installed in 1990. The organization currently employs more than 230 Alabamians and is hiring additional employees daily.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States is consuming nearly 45-50 billion gloves per month. Not only is less than half of all PPE (gloves, masks, respirators, etc.) manufactured in North America, but more than 95% of PPE glove supply is currently manufactured in Asia (predominantly China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand). This means the United States is vulnerable to foreign supply chain disruptions. American glove production, in relation to the global supply, is less than 1%
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, there is an urgent need for domestic manufacturers with the capacity to meet current and future demand from government agencies, hospitals and other industries with front-line workers who require PPE to protect workers and citizens. SHOWA believes that ensuring that our country can meet growing PPE supply needs with domestically-sourced equipment is a matter of national security – one that requires a long-term commitment to American manufacturers so they can make the necessary investments in people and infrastructure.
“The men and women who work at Showa, and the new people they will be hiring, are helping us to reduce our dependency on Chinese made medical products,” Aderholt added. “I’ve been sounding the alarm on our need to have more of our medical supply chain centered here in America and the Showa plant in Fayette is a critical part of that chain.”
Domestically-sourced PPE is indeed one of Aderholt’s current priorities. He also recently helped facilitate a deal for HomTex, a textile manufacturer in Cullman, to serve as the primary source of PPE masks for members of the U.S. House and Senate, their staffs and visitors to the U.S. Capitol.