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Hickory furniture manufacturer turning to PPE production

HSM Solutions is shipping out masks, gowns and medical mattresses to alleviate a nationwide shortage.

CLAREMONT, N.C. — HSM Solutions, a furniture component manufacturer in Catawba County, is changing its production lines to address a shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

The company's COO, Michael Hinshaw, said the company went from concept to production in 30 days, and it's already shipped out 40,000 gowns.

"We wanted to be in the fight," Hinshaw said. "We didn't like being on the sidelines."

He said workers just started making masks, and they expect to quickly double production.

The company also developed a medical mattress, which uses a nylon cover to makes it easier to wipe and disinfect.

The company expanded to make about 4,000 mattresses a day and 2,000 free-standing metal beds a day.

Those products will temporarily be priced below market level to help healthcare systems afford them.

The company is doing more cleaning, placing workspaces further apart and assigning workers to split shifts in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 entering the plants.

Hinshaw said the changes allowed the company to expand despite a drop in demand for its consumer components after furniture stores temporarily closed their doors.

"t's actually gotten to a place where we're hiring," he said. "We're actively trying to find sewers in the marketplace."

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