Milliken Pivots Manufacturing to Produce Fabrics for Medical PPE

The COVID-19 global pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of life around the world. Whether social distancing from loved ones, heightening precautions to stay healthy at work and at home, or joining in the call to help protect medical workers on the front line, our daily actions have undoubtedly changed.

But at Milliken, our purpose to use our capabilities for positive impact has not. That’s why we’re leveraging our materials science expertise to manufacture fabrics for medical personal protective equipment (PPE), which is essential for the healthcare industry.  

“We have focused our development and manufacturing processes to help fight the battle against COVID-19,” said Halsey M. Cook, Milliken & Company president and CEO. “We began by engineering our existing textiles into medical-grade fabrics for PPE, and we will continue to seek critical solutions as we navigate this uncharted territory as a company, a nation, and a world."

Milliken’s new advanced medical fabrics and barriers are currently available and can be used to make gowns and headcovers for healthcare professionals. These new textiles complement Milliken’s breakthrough BioSmartTM antimicrobial technology, which harnesses the power of bleach to kill up to 99.9% of common bacteria on contact and is used to manufacture scrubs, lab coats, and hospital privacy curtains.

Milliken is manufacturing these critical textiles in the U.S.A. This enables Milliken to utilize strong supply chain relationships to quickly deploy these fabrics to customers where they are made into final pieces of PPE.   

“Many of Milliken’s U.S. customers in the flame resistant, workwear, and industrial space have pivoted their operations to manufacture medical PPE—National Safety Apparel, for example,” shared Chad McAllister, president of Milliken’s Textile Division and executive vice president of Milliken & Company. “Milliken’s trusted reputation and relationships allow us to help fill new and urgent requests. As they manufacture the final PPE products, we can supply them with the protective fabrics they need.” 

Categorized into Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3, our advanced medical fabrics and barriers tested to the ANSI/AAMI PB70 Standard and suit multiple medical environments and usage situations.

  • Level 1 Medical Textile, Milliken PerimeterTM: Suitable for minimal risk situations, including basic care settings and standard hospital medical units, this gown textile provides a slight barrier to small amounts of fluid penetration. Tested to the ANSI/AAMI PB70 standard.
  • Level 2 Medical Textile, Milliken PerimeterTM: Designed for low-risk situations, including suturing and the pathology lab, this gown textile provides a barrier to larger amounts of fluid penetration through splatter and some fluid exposure through soaking. Tested to the ANSI/AAMI PB70 standard.
  • Level 3 Medical Barrier, Milliken PerimeterTM: Designed for moderate risk situations, including hospital emergency rooms and trauma care, this PPE gown textile provides a barrier against larger amounts of fluid penetration through splatter, and more fluid exposure through soaking than Level 2. Tested to the ANSI/AAMI PB70 standard.

Milliken is also researching and developing materials for incorporation into protective masks. According to Cook, developing new products, especially those that must meet strict performance standards, is a part of Milliken's collective DNA.  

“Our team of scientists and developers is fully engaged, uncovering solutions to address critical medical and protective needs for those fighting on the front lines of this pandemic,” McAllister added. 

Milliken’s storied, 150-year legacy in American textile manufacturing is known worldwide for industry-leading performance and protective textiles, including fabrics for first responder PPE, flame resistant workwear, military uniforms, airbags, commercial and residential interior environments, napery, and more. We’re honored to leverage our expertise in this time of need for our country, and for our world.