ZF North America partners with Detroit Sewn to produce face masks

Written by Marine Log Staff
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ZF employee with the first batch of masks

To most marine industry readers ZF is synonymous with marine transmissions, but ZF North America’s operations include automotive seat belt and airbag systems. The company develops and supplies all aspects of an airbag system and has specialized cut and sew capabilities to shape and produce air bag designs customized to the application.

Now ZF North America is using those resources to help with the fight against the COVID-19 virus. It has partnered with Pontiac, Michigan-based manufacturer Detroit Sewn and expects to deliver a shipment of 100,000 face masks to that company by the end of April.

Developed for frontline healthcare workers and individuals in the community with high risk for infection, these masks will contribute to the fight against the contagion as ZF shifts production of some of its normal automotive safety products to this now critically needed item.

“The world is facing a situation unlike anything our generation has seen before and while the challenge may seem impossible, now more than ever, it’s the support of each and every individual and company working together that is truly making a difference,” said Martin Fischer, president of ZF North America and member of the Board of Management of the ZF Group. “It’s an honor for us to join in the fight to help protect frontline healthcare workers and everyone who is caring for others during this difficult time. We hope we can not only do our part to make a difference, but to encourage others to contribute as we get through this together.”

Traditionally a full-service cut-and-sew manufacturer, Detroit Sewn recently restructured its operations to focus solely on the production of masks and gowns that protect healthcare workers and other essential service workers against COVID-19. The company employs 25 people on two shifts and is also supplying fabric to other manufacturing organizations like ZF that have industrial sewing expertise and who can assist with the fight against this disease.

“We are proud and grateful that seven manufacturing and sewing partners including ZF have joined with us to fulfill the urgent need for masks that meet CDC guidelines,” said Karen Buscemi, CEO of Detroit Sewn. “With our partners’ help along with support from G1 Impact, our nonprofit fiscal sponsor, we have the infrastructure in place to produce more than 300,000 masks in the short term – and the orders continue to roll in daily from health systems and nonprofits.

“ZF’s longstanding reputation for advanced cut-and-sew capabilities makes the company a valuable addition to our effort. And we are thrilled with their rapid onboarding.”

According to the CDC, fabric masks are a crisis response option when other supplies have been exhausted. These masks are not intended to replace N95 masks.

ZF North America is using its cut and sew capabilities to help in the fight against the coronavirus
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