Canadian Plastics

Dow expands hand sanitizer production at five sites

The five sites in Europe and the Americas are expected to produce more than 200 metric tons of sanitizer, which will be donated to local health systems and government agencies.

March 31, 2020   Canadian Plastics

Dow’s manufacturing site in Seneffe, Belgium. Photo Credit: Dow

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an unprecedented impact around the world and needed medical, health and hygiene products are in short supply – which is why chemical maker Dow is using its manufacturing sites in Auburn, Michigan; South Charleston, West Virginia; Seneffe, Belgium; and Hortolândia, Brazil to produce hand sanitizer.

These locations join Dow’s site in Stade, Germany which already produced hand sanitizer for donation.

Midland, Mich.-based Dow doesn’t typically produce hand sanitizer, but a large portion of the required raw materials are readily available at company sites. In addition, Dow’s already large-scale production capabilities allows for a meaningful volume of sanitizer to be produced with little to no impact to normal operations.

In a March 30 press release, Dow describes how it collaborated with officials in each of the locations to understand their needs and requirements. “In the U.S., [Dow] worked with officials in Michigan and West Virginia, as well as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, and the Department of Homeland Security. These agencies provided useful, timely guidance as [we] completed the permitting, licensing and raw material procurement processes,” Dow said.

Dow’s Auburn site has the capacity to produce approximately 15,000 pounds (7 metric tons) of hand sanitizer per week, which equates to nearly 30,000 eight-ounce bottles. Similar or greater volumes are expected to be produced at the other Dow locations. “When all of these locations are at full production, [our] collective output is expected to reach more than 440,000 pounds (200 metric tons), or the equivalent of more than 880,000 eight-ounce bottles,” Dow said.

Production of hand sanitizer will occur for approximately four weeks in the four Dow sites selected for the job, after which time Dow will assess extending production based on raw material availability and market need.

All of the hand sanitizer that will be produced has been allocated with the majority for donation to health systems and government agencies for distribution. Hand sanitizer will also be distributed to Dow production sites to help protect employees who are on the frontline and ensuring Dow’s manufacturing facilities continue to run safely. First deliveries are expected to begin this week.

According to Dow, hand sanitizer will be donated to the State of Michigan; the THRIVE initiative between the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, for distribution to area hospitals and first responders in the Great Lakes Bay Region; the State of West Virginia; the city of Charleston and South Charleston, West Virginia; the Federal Government of Belgium; and public hospitals in the cities of Campinas, Hortolândia and Jundiaí, Brazil.

“We are proud to put our global assets to work to help combat the spread of the coronavirus. The combined efforts of our five sites around the world enable us to produce and donate a tremendous amount of this much needed product to help protect human health and safety,” said Dow CEO Jim Fitterling. “This effort has been made possible through the swift efforts of Team Dow, in collaboration with raw material suppliers, state and federal regulatory officials and volunteers. We intend to continue producing hand sanitizer as long as raw materials are available and supply is short.”


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